President Barack Obama saluted all U.S. armed forces personnel who defended South Korea during its war with North Korea on Veteran's Day.
At the U.S. Army Garrison-Yongsan in South Korea on Thursday, he thanked American soldiers for protecting democracy in the South and condemning totalitarianism in its communist neighbor.
"The Korean Peninsula provides the world's clearest contrast between a society that is open and a society that is closed," Obama told the troops, "between a nation that is dynamic and growing, and a government that would rather starve its people than change."
"It's a contrast that's so stark you can see it from space, as the brilliant lights of Seoul give way to the utter darkness of the North," he added.
Despite the fact that the two Koreas are still technically at war, Obama declared the conflict a victory.
"Because the Korean War ended where it began geographically, some used the phrase Die for a Tie to describe the sacrifices of those who fought here," he said.
"But as we look around at this thriving democracy and its grateful, hopeful citizens, one thing is clear: This was no tie," Obama declared. "This was victory."
"This was a victory then, and is a victory today," he continued. "And 60 years later, a friendship that was forged in a war has become an alliance that has led to greater security and untold progress - not only in the Republic of Korea, but throughout Asia."
The president told troops that North Korea remains isolated from the rest of the world and that leaders of that country should do what they can to pursue peace with other nations.