President Bush and South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun emphasized their unified stance on ridding the Korean Peninsula of nuclear weapons during a joint press conference after their summit discussions November 17
President Bush and President Roh discuss strong U.S.-Korean alliance in Gyeongju, Republic of Korea, on 17 Nov.
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President Bush and South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun emphasized their unified stance on ridding the Korean Peninsula of nuclear weapons during a joint press conference after their summit discussions November 17.
Speaking in the historic city of Gyeongju in the Republic of Korea (ROK), Bush acknowledged the "complexities" of the U.S.-ROK relationship but emphasized: "the important thing is to work together to solve those complexities in a spirit of friendship."
"I know how important our relationship is to help promote stability in this part of the world," he added.
Bush is in South Korea for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders’ Meeting November 18-19.
Bush said he looked forward to continuing to work with Roh "to promote a foundation for peace and freedom, whether it be here on the peninsula, or around this globe." He thanked South Korea for its help in Afghanistan and Iraq and in aiding U.S. victims of Hurricane Katrina.
Bush said he and Roh also discussed the importance of free and fair trade. He added that he hopes the participants at the APEC Leaders’ Meeting "will join together in promoting a successful Doha Round at the WTO."
The Doha round of World Trade Organization (WTO) trade talks, formally known as the Doha Development Agenda, is aimed at enhancing market access for agricultural products and expanding opportunities for manufactured goods and services.
Free and fair trade will benefit not only developed economies but developing nations as well, Bush said, noting that the World Bank has estimated that "hundreds of millions of people will be lifted out of poverty if this round goes forward."
Roh reported that his discussions with Bush regarding the North Korean nuclear issue have been lengthy, but without disagreement on the core issue: "I must say that we do not have any differing opinions on this. We are basically looking to resolve this North Korean nuclear issue, and we are exploring for ways that we can resolve this issue. We have no disagreement at all that this issue must be resolved."
The problem of North Korea's nuclear weapons programs, Roh said, should be resolved peacefully within the framework of the Six-Party Talks that include North and South Korea, Japan, China, Russia and the United States.
"[D]efinitely it is a difficult task to accomplish," Roh acknowledged, but added, "[I]n our process of engaging in dialogue with North Korea, I think that we have a most strategic and solid foundation of dialogue that we have ever had."
Regarding the U.S.-ROK security alliance, Roh said it is "strong and that it is developing into a comprehensive, dynamic and mutually beneficial alliance." He and Bush, Roh said, "agreed that the Korea-U.S. alliance will continue to contribute to peace and stability in the region."