President Biden welcomed South Korean President Moon Jae-in to the White House on Friday, making him the second foreign leader to visit the United States after Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga came last month and underscoring the importance of Asia to the administration’s foreign policy.

At a joint news conference with Moon on Friday evening, Biden announced that he is appointing veteran diplomat Sung Kim to serve as special envoy to North Korea.

“The United States and the Republic of Korea are allies with a long history of shared sacrifice,” Biden said earlier Friday at a bilateral meeting with Moon. “I look forward to continuing our discussion today here and growing the U.S.-[Republic of Korea] relationship further as we take on new challenges and we take them on together.”

Vice President Harris met with Moon first in the morning. “Our alliance is critical to peace, security and prosperity in Northeast Asia, the Indo-Pacific and around the world,” she told him.

Biden, Harris and Moon also attended a Medal of Honor ceremony for a 94-year-old Korean War veteran, an honor Biden said was “70 years overdue.”

Here’s what to know

  • Col. Ralph Puckett, who led a company of Army Rangers that came under heavy Chinese fire during the Korean War, will receive a Medal of Honor for his valor.
  • Several lawmakers who voted against the creation of an independent commission on the Jan. 6 attack at the U.S. Capitol could also be called as witnesses to testify about former president Donald Trump’s actions that day.
  • The White House coronavirus response team, including National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony S. Fauci, held a news briefing as Biden faces criticism from some public health officials over a swift change to mask guidance.
  • Thursday’s cease-fire between Israel and Hamas militants came only after more than 80 calls and contacts among U.S. officials and Israeli and Arab officials, including six conversations between Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.