Distinguished leaders, Ladies and gentlemen, I am honored to address you at this global Rally of Hope, sponsored by the Universal Peace Federation and join you in the great cause of building a more peaceful and prosperous world.
The Bible says ‘blessed are the peacemakers’, and I believe this gathering of leaders from nations across the world, leaders who cherish the values of faith, family, democracy, and justice under the rule of law, will be a blessing to people in Korea, the Indo-Pacific, and the wider world. And I am also grateful to The Washington Times, a model of fair and accurate reporting that American decision-makers have relied on daily for nearly forty years. I especially want to thank Dr. Moon for hosting this important event, and for faithfully devoting her life to the pursuit of peace. And I also extend my warmest wishes as she celebrates the birthday she shares with her late husband. Thank you, Dr. Moon, for living out your life's calling with compassion and grace.
As we gather today, my heart is full of hope and confidence that better days lie ahead for America and for the world. For the past year, the coronavirus pandemic has inflicted heartbreak and hardship across the globe. Every nation on earth has been put to the test. Now, thanks to the bold leadership, groundbreaking partnerships, and the courageous resolve of individual citizens, mankind’s victory over the coronavirus is closer than ever before.
Here in the United States, we marshalled a Whole-of-America response, calling on researchers, scientists, and manufacturers to speed needed supplies to our health care workers, and we developed a vaccine in less than a year, a truly unprecedented medical miracle. More than 50 million vaccine doses have now been administered in the United States and millions more have been administered around the globe. Every day we are one day closer to putting the long night of the coronavirus behind us. Rays of sunlight have pierced the horizon and a bright new day is dawning.
Now, as nations undertake the urgent work of restoring lost jobs, reopening shuttered industries, we must remember that our task is not merely to rebuild the world of the past, but to forge a brighter future for all our citizens.
During my four years as vice president, at home and abroad, I have seen firsthand that truly great nations embrace freedom, the principles of religious liberty, freedom of speech, democracy, and free enterprise. We know that strong families, education, equal treatment under the law, and a recognition of the dignity and worth of every human life, born and unborn, is the foundation of true national greatness. On that foundation of shared values, we can build a world of strong sovereign nations bound by our commitment to the timeless ideas of liberty, security, and opportunity for all.
With free people, strong nations, and bold leaders, there is no limit to what we can achieve, and in keeping with the theme of this Rally of Hope, I also believe that we can further the progress we made in the last administration: strengthening our historic alliance with the courageous people of South Korea.
Let me emphasize. America is strongly committed to supporting the Republic of Korea, Japan, and our allies across the region. Our commitment to our common defense remains unbreakable. We will stand firm against our common adversaries, even as we work in good faith to turn those adversaries into friends. And in doing that, I believe we can lay a foundation to bring about the peaceful unification of Korea within our lifetime.
That vision of freedom, peace, and prosperity is the same vision the people of the United States and the Republic of Korea have shared for nearly 70 years: A Korea united by the universal values of human dignity, liberty, and economic freedom. It is the vision that my father Ed Pence, a young Army lieutenant in the Korean War fought to defend, and it is the vision that generations of Americans and freedom-loving Koreans have defended and pursued for all the Korean people.
Building on that Legacy as vice president was one of the highest honors of my life. In April of 2017, it was my privilege to travel to South Korea, to meet with the leaders of the Republic of Korea, with American armed forces, and appear across the border of the demilitarized zone at a time of great tension. We returned in February of 2018 to herald the Winter Olympics that celebrated a vision of peace on the Korean Peninsula. And in the wake of President Trump's historic Summit in Singapore, it was my privilege to be on the tarmac in Hawaii when the remains of fifty-five fallen Americans were at last returned to American soil from North Korea.
More Summits would follow, and while peace remained elusive, we will continue to pursue a peaceful future: the final and fully verified denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. And I am proud to stand alongside all of you on this day to support the cause of freedom, security, and peace for all the Korean People. So today, at this global Rally of Hope, I urge all the leaders looking on: keep striving for peace, keep believing in freedom, and have faith, for without faith it is impossible to please God. And know that your labors on behalf of peace for the Korean people, across the Asia-Pacific and the wider world are not in vain.
Thank you for the honor of addressing you today, and may God bless you all.