In a heartwarming moment during a recent summit between South Korea and the United States, South Korean President Moon Jae-in surprised President Joe Biden by breaking out into song. Moon took the opportunity to serenade the American president with a rendition of the classic folk rock anthem “American Pie” by Don McLean.
The impromptu performance took place during a dinner at the White House, where the two leaders discussed a range of issues including North Korea’s nuclear program, trade, and COVID-19 vaccine distribution. Moon, a former human rights lawyer who took office in 2017, has previously expressed his admiration for American pop culture, particularly its music.
As the dinner drew to a close, Moon grabbed a microphone and began singing the opening lines of “American Pie,” while Biden and the other guests looked on in surprise. Moon’s rendition of the song, which tells the story of the early years of rock and roll and the tragedy of the 1959 plane crash that killed Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and The Big Bopper, was met with applause and cheers.
The moment was captured on video and quickly went viral on social media, with many viewers praising Moon for his unexpected gesture of friendship towards the United States. Some fans of the song also noted that Moon’s pronunciation and phrasing were surprisingly good for a non-native English speaker.
Moon’s performance comes as South Korea seeks to strengthen its alliance with the United States in the face of growing security challenges in the region, including North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs and China’s assertiveness in the South China Sea. Moon has previously emphasized the importance of the alliance between the two countries, calling it the “linchpin” of peace and stability in Northeast Asia.
For his part, Biden seemed delighted by Moon’s performance, and the two leaders reportedly continued to chat and share stories long after the dinner ended. The moment was a reminder of the power of music to bring people together, even in the midst of political tensions and global crises.