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Minnelli Entertains at State Dinner for South Korean President

July 28, 1995

WASHINGTON (AP) _ The hydrangeas on the round tables in the East Room were blue and green, the main course was grilled lamb, Liza Minnelli sang hot and cool, and the leaders of South Korea and the United States paid tribute to shared wartime sacrifice.

But among the famous faces and obligatory sentiments at Thursday night’s State Dinner at the White House, President Clinton and South Korean President Kim Young-sam showed a human touch.

Clinton, perhaps dropping a hint, noted that Kim was ``an enthusiastic jogger″ who ``permitted me to jog with him″ when he visited Seoul last year.

``And even in this heat, Mr. President, after this meal, we may have to run an extra mile together tomorrow,″ Clinton said.

This morning, they did just that, completing three laps together on the running track on the White House’s South Lawn.

For his part at the dinner, Kim said he was grateful that Clinton had made sure that Blair House, the presidential guest house, was stocked with ``Arkansas water from Hot Springs National Park.″

And even though the heat was extreme, the humidity high and the schedule hectic, ``the water was so energizing that I feel I can make another trip like this tomorrow,″ Kim said.

The dinner came at the end of a day in which Clinton and Kim discussed the continuing tensions between North and South Korea 42 years after war’s end, then dedicated a memorial to the Americans who fought there.

In an exchange of toasts as the dinner opened, Clinton told Kim: ``The bonds between our people, forged in the fires of war upon your land, have only grown stronger with time. We are united now by a history of shared sacrifice and a future of common purpose.″

In reply, Kim said war had made Americans and Koreans ``blood-sharing brothers.″

The state dinner menu paraded from marinated shrimp and lobster through grilled lamb and morels to ginseng tea truffles.

American guests included singer Judy Collins, orchestra leader Skitch Henderson, broadcaster Paul Harvey, and Sens. Sam Nunn, D-Ga.; John Chafee, R-R.I.; David Pryor, D-Ark.; Dale Bumpers, D-Ark.; and John Glenn, D-Ohio.

At dinner’s end 180 guests trooped outdoors into a muggy and rainy evening and into an elegant, white tent pitched between the floral borders of the Rose Garden.

And there, with the rain coursing down the clear plastic side flaps, Minnelli exploded with what Clinton called ``energy and joy.″

She highlighted a review of American pop classics with a display of show-business license. It represented a birthday tribute to first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton that was either nine months late or three months early, depending on the point of view.

Mrs. Clinton turns 48 on Oct. 27.

But Minnelli said one does these things when one has the chance.

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