Coinciding with the president’s trip to South Korea for the Global Nuclear Summit, the U.S. Embassy in Seoul held an “Ask President Obama” competition where Koreans could submit questions via social media.
The three winning questions, which received written responses from President Obama, ranged from lighter to more substantive inquiries.
A university student asked Obama which speech he enjoyed giving the most, saying his speeches provide "refined" words for those learning English. The president couldn't name just one, however, describing his speeches at the 2004 and 2008 Democratic National Conventions, and the speech he gave while receiving the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo. However, in the spirit of the nuclear summit, he discussed his April 2009 speech in Prague addressing the Nuclear Security Summit.
“That’s what the Summit starting tonight is all about: an effort to secure nuclear materials so that they never fall into the wrong hands, and so that we can benefit from peaceful nuclear power,” Obama wrote. “And that’s what is important in speeches—to remind people that we can overcome our divisions, and draw on peoples’ hopes and the things that unite us as human beings.”
Obama also responded to a question regarding human rights in North Korea from a North Korean refugee. The president said that the well-being of North Koreans are a priority of the U.S., commending the man on his journey.
“Your personal story of courage is remarkable and a testament to the possibility for North Koreans to lead lives in freedom and dignity," Obama wrote. "We will continue to support programs to increase freedom of information, promote human rights and rule of law, and lay the foundation for civil society in the DPRK. Meanwhile, the extraordinary progress that the Republic of Korea has accomplished in broadening prosperity and democracy for its citizens stands as a powerful contrast to the challenges in the North.”
The White House said the top 10 questioners received a signed copy of the president’s book, The Audacity of Hope, translated into Korean.