President Barack Obama spoke in Seoul on Tuesday and hailed the efforts of South Korean leaders, saying they have “worked together for many years.”
But Obama also warned against “playing politics with the lives of South Koreans.”
The president said that “even though South Koreans have faced difficulties, we can all recognize that this is an incredibly challenging time in the country.”
Obama said the South Koreans are fighting “for a better future” and “are determined to make the world a better place.”
“But I don’t think we should ignore the reality of the challenges and the challenges of this moment,” he said.
Obama noted the South Korean economy is “shifting away from manufacturing, away from exports, and toward service industries.”
He also said that South Korea “has one of the highest rates of female participation in the workforce” and that the South Korea government “has taken significant steps to promote equality.”
Obama called the Korean-American community “one of the most important American communities” and thanked them for their support.
Obama also addressed the recent spike in the number of Americans with mental illness.
He said the spike has been “very concerning” to many Americans, adding that “mental health care needs to be a priority.”