- The Washington Times - Monday, January 19, 2009

KOREAN KUDOS

The South Korean National Assembly presented the U.S. Embassy in Seoul with a resolution congratulating President-elect Barack Obama, which marked the first time the legislature has paid tribute to the inauguration of a foreign leader.

Kim Hyong-o, speaker of the National Assembly, delivered the resolution to U.S. Ambassador Kathleen Stephens last week.

The resolution expressed the desire for a “future-oriented and strategic alliance” between South Korea and the U.S. “befitting the 21st century.”

“The Korean National Assembly hopes that the United States will take the lead to maintain peace and security in the world, re-establish the global economic order based upon the principles of mutual benefits and equality and tackle problems of the world, while upholding universal values,” it said.

The resolution is “unprecedented,” according to the South Korean Embassy in Washington.

“It is the first time the Korean National Assembly has adopted a resolution congratulating the inauguration of a foreign dignitary.”

The legislature adopted the resolution Jan. 13, which is celebrated in the United States as “Korean-American Day.” The South Korean Embassy noted that Congress created the annual observance to recognize the arrival of the first Korean immigrants to the U.S.

PORTRAITS OF THE ARTIST

As temperatures fell last week, a warm spirit rose at the Austrian Embassy, where a wine-and-cheese reception featured portraits by novelist, artist and former Washington Times cartoonist Peter Steiner.

Mr. Steiner’s cartoons were a daily feature for more than 20 years in this newspaper, and his drawings often appeared in the New Yorker magazine.

The exhibit at the embassy includes a number of self- portraits, as well as studies of friends, neighbors and his wife. They combined representational and impressionistic techniques and a widely varied palette of colors.

The large embassy’s reception room was ringed with double rows of the portraits, about 80 in all. And an appreciative crowd, which included our correspondent, Ben Tyree, showed up despite the cold weather Thursday night and mingled and chatted about the exhibit and the presidential inaugural.

Mr. Steiner, whose parents were Austrian, is a former college professor of German who also writes spy novels. The key figure in his books is a former American secret agent who has retired to France, where Mr. Steiner and his wife, Jane, also spend part of each year.

He said he goes to the South of France “to escape the winters of Connecticut,” now his primary home.

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