WASHINGTON, Oct. 29 (Yonhap) -- The following is the full text of a special contribution by U.S. Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden. The exclusive contribution made to Yonhap News Agency on Thursday marks the first of its kind to a South Korean media company in the year of the U.S. presidential election, which will be held Tuesday.
Hope for Our Better Future
By Vice President Joe Biden
I will never forget standing less than 100 feet away from North Korea at the DMZ with my granddaughter, Finnegan, beside me. I felt the pain of division on the Korean Peninsula and the separation of families since the Korean War. It was more visceral, because earlier in the day, I had just laid the wreath at the War Memorial of Korea to honor the 36,574 American soldiers who died during war.
This was in 2013, during my trip to South Korea to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the alliance forged in blood between our two countries. As I said then, I have a profound respect for the Korean people and for everything that South Korea has accomplished since the Korean War.
Out of the ashes of war, South Korea has shown the world the "miracle of the Han River," becoming a shining example of a flourishing democracy and economic powerhouse. It has been a global leader in the fight against COVID-19; and a strong ally in the region, to advance our shared prosperity, values, and security, and to meet global challenges.
Words matter -- and a president's words matter even more. As President, I'll stand with South Korea, strengthening our alliance to safeguard peace in East Asia and beyond, rather than extorting Seoul with reckless threats to remove our troops. I'll engage in principled diplomacy and keep pressing toward a denuclearized North Korea and a unified Korean Peninsula, while working to reunite Korean Americans separated from loved ones in North Korea for decades.
I am grateful for the innumerable contributions made by almost two million Korean Americans -- especially during these tough times when the United States is at a crossroads, facing a pandemic, a recession, and an election that will decide our futures for a very long time.
This year, we've seen the best of America carry us forward: heroic doctors, nurses, grocers, restaurant owners, entrepreneurs, and other essential workers -- so many of them Korean Americans whose love of this country makes us stronger, more resilient, and more prosperous.
For more than a century, Korean Americans have made our country strong -- from the very first immigrants in Hawaii on January 13, 1903, to the rising entrepreneurs and business owners driving us forward now. As Senator, I was proud to help pass a bill in 2002 that celebrated one hundred years of Korean immigration -- recognizing the community's courage, sacrifice, and successes that have helped America stand as a beacon of freedom and hope to the world.
As President, I'll continue to defend the American Dream for everyone, so every Korean American family has the same fair shot at prosperity and a better future. I'll stand against racism in every form, directing the Justice Department to prioritize hate crimes, and working to heal today's divisions, not fan the flames.
President Trump knew how deadly COVID-19 was back in January and did nothing to control it. More than 225,000 Americans are dead. Some 30 million have lost jobs, hours, wages. One in five small businesses have shut down, many of them Korean American-owned small businesses. Trump's failed leadership has tanked our economy and shattered hope for many Korean Americans.
As President, I'll get right to work building our economy back better -- getting real relief out to millions of hard-hit small businesses. I've called for ensuring small businesses with fewer than 50 employees get new relief. I'll boost their long-term access to credit and capital, and work to ease the language barriers that can hold back many Korean American business owners.
Through it all, my economic recovery plan will reward work, not just wealth, creating millions of good-paying jobs of the future. Independent economists at Moody's Analytics found that my plan creates 7 million more jobs -- and $1 trillion more in economic growth -- than President Trump's would. And I won't raise taxes on anyone earning less than $400,000 a year, period.
I've fought my whole career to support hard-working immigrant families who came to America to build a better life. I practice the principles taught to me by my faith -- to treat every single person with dignity, to welcome the stranger, and to protect the vulnerable. I'll work to fix our broken immigration system, provide a roadmap to citizenship for undocumented Koreans, and recognize the tens of thousands of Korean adoptees as the Americans they are. I'll continue to make health care more affordable by protecting and building on the Affordable Care Act, so that more Korean American families can obtain high-quality health insurance. Unlike President Trump, I would never seek to strip millions of people of their health coverage in the middle of a pandemic. Also I'll make sure every child has access to a quality education, regardless of their background, and that every student can afford to pursue their dream of a post-high school education.
Many Koreans left their homeland and made tremendous sacrifices so their children could achieve the American Dream. My own great grandparents came to the United States from Ireland, filled with hope. I'm running to restore all our hopes and dreams, and build America back better --- as a country of opportunity, unity, and new beginnings. As President, I'll fight for a better future for all our children and grandchildren. Katchi Kapshida.