Congratulatory Address - U.S


Kurt W. Tong,
the Minister Counselor for Economic Affairs at the U.S. Embassy to Korea

Minister Park, Dr. Lee, distinguished guests, and participants in the First U.S.-Korea Nanotechnology Forum:

I am very pleased to be here today to add my welcome and congratulations on this auspicious occasion.  This Forum will serve the interests of both our countries, and the scientific community in general, by facilitating the kind of cross-fertilization of scientific investigation that has always led to important advances.  In fostering discussion and sharing among its participants, the Forum will improve understanding and promote collaborative research in the many fields included in nanotechnology.

It is right that we place such stress on the importance of nanotechnology.  In 1999, the U.S. National Science and Technology Council wrote, "The emerging fields of nanoscience and nanoengineering are leading to unprecedented understanding and control over the fundamental building blocks of all physical things.  This is likely to change the way almost everything - from vaccines to computers to automobile tires to objects not yet imagined - is designed and made."

I am especially pleased to see such a strong gathering of scientific talent from both countries.  The United States and Korea have a long history of cooperation in scientific and technological fields, and our relationship has grown from the one-sided provision of assistance in post-war years to today's mature and equal collaboration across a range of mutually beneficial fields.

The founding in 1966 of the Korea Institute of Science and Technology with American aid marked one end of this spectrum.  Events such as today's collaborative Forum, or ongoing cooperative work on areas like stem cell research, nuclear fuel fabrication, and climate change mitigation - to mention three examples - marks the other end of this transition.

Our formal bilateral scientific and technological relationship began in 1976 with the signing of an umbrella Science and Technology Agreement between our two governments.  This agreement has been renewed and expanded regularly since then, most recently in 1999, to our mutual benefit.  We are here today because the idea for this First Nanotechnology Forum grew out of last year's Joint Committee Meeting on Science and Technology Cooperation, the fifth such meeting to be held under the umbrella agreement.  Officials from the Korea Institute of Science and Technology, Ministry of Science and Technology, and the National Science Foundation have worked hard since then to make the Forum a reality, and today we see the result.

Dr. Lee, Dr. Roco:  my congratulations to you for organizing this Forum.  We look to great results from your work these next two days, and the collaborations that will surely follow.  

Thank you very much.