President Kim. I would like to give my presentation. First, on behalf of the Korean people, I would like to warmly welcome President Bush and thank him for taking time out of the war against terrorism to visit our country. This visit is the first by President Bush since his Inauguration, and it is also the first by an American President in the 21st century. It is for this reason that this visit will lay the foundation for future progress in Korean-U.
Furthermore, President Bush and I expressed satisfaction that the bilateral alliance is not limited to cooperation in security matters but that the comprehensive partnership has expanded and developed to all areas, including political, economic, and diplomatic arenas.
President Bush and I exchanged views about the war against terrorism and future course of action. I praised President Bush for the success in the war against terrorism under his outstanding leadership and indicated that Korea as an ally would do its utmost to cooperate and provide full support. President Bush and I agreed to work with mutually consistent objectives and strategies in close consultation in pursuing the North Korean policy.
I greatly appreciate President Bush's staunch support for our sunshine policy, as well as the U. In this regard, we also concurred that the objective is to resolve the issue of North Korean WMDs and missiles at an early date through dialog.
To this end, we agreed that Korea-U. President Bush and I concurred that continued expansion and progress of bilateral, economic, and trade relations are in the interest of both our countries. Furthermore, we also agreed to further deepen cooperative relations at the multilateral level, such as the WTO Doha development agenda. I am more than satisfied with the frank and open exchange of views I had with President Bush this morning on numerous issues. I would like to take this opportunity to express my heartfelt gratitude to President Bush for the interest he has expressed in peace on the Korean Peninsula, for the unparalleled affection he has for Korea, as well as the efforts and enthusiasm he has demonstrated in the development of bilateral relations.
President Bush. Thank you, Mr. It is such an honor to be here. Laura and I are grateful for your hospitality and the hospitality of First Lady Hee-ho. We look forward to a full day in your beautiful country.
The President is right; we had a great meeting. It was so good that we didn't want to go into the meeting room where there was more people. We had a very frank exchange. And that's important when you're friends, to be able to discuss issues in depth. A lot of times I find in the diplomatic world that people want to gloss over issues; they don't want to spend much time really understanding each other's positions. Because of our friendship, because of the friendship between our countries, we had a very frank exchange and a positive exchange, and one that allows me to safely say that this relationship is 50 years old, the relationship between South Korea and America, and it's seen a lot of problems.
And we've dealt with those problems together. And I'm confident we'll be dealing with problems 50 years from now in a spirit of cooperation and openness.
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I understand how important this relationship is to our country, and the United States is strongly committed to the security of South Korea. We'll honor our commitments. Make no mistake about it that we stand firm behind peace in the Peninsula.
And no one should ever doubt that, Mr. No one should ever doubt that this is a vital commitment for our Nation. It's also vital that we continue to trade together. And so we obviously discussed issues of the—security issues on the Peninsula. We also discussed ways to make sure our trade was more open and fair to both sides. I'm very impressed by the amount of investment capital, foreign capital that has come into South Korea in the last 4 years.
It's a testimony to a country that understands open markets and freedom. And I'm going up to the DMZ here in a little bit, and it's going to be an interesting contrast, to talk about the benefits and the dividends of freedom. And part of those is an economy that is vibrant and improving, thanks to structural reforms.
We're here for each other.
I assured the President we're doing everything we can in our country, as well, to make sure our economy recovers. It's hard to be a good trading partner if you don't have a good economy, and we're beginning to see s that there's economic vitality in America, which will be good for our partners here in South Korea as well. And of course, we talked about North Korea. And I made it very clear to the President that I support his sunshine policy.
And I'm disappointed that the other side, the North Koreans, will not accept the spirit of the sunshine policy. We talked about family reunifications, the displaced family initiative that he started, which I think is a great initiative. And yet only 3, families, I believe it was, have been allowed to reunite. I asked him how many—what's the potential—what are the potential families on both sides of the DMZ that could reunite. He said, 10 million people. In order to make sure there's sunshine, there needs to be two people, two sides involved. And I praised the President's efforts.
And I wonder out loud why the North Korean President won't accept the gesture of good will that the South Korean President has so rightfully offered.
The president's news conference with president kim dae-jung of south korea in seoul, south korea
And I told him that we, too, would be happy to have a dialog with the North Koreans. I've made that offer, and yet there has been no response. Some in this country are—obviously have read about my very strong comments about the nature of the regime. And let me explain why I made the comments I did.
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I love freedom. I understand the importance of freedom in people's lives. I'm troubled by a regime that tolerates starvation.
I worry about a regime that is closed and not transparent. I'm deeply concerned about the people of North Korea. And I believe that it is important for those of us who love freedom to stand strong for freedom and make it clear the benefits of freedom. And that's exactly why I said what I said about the North Korean regime.
I know what can happen when people are free; I see it right here in South Korea. And I'm passionate on the subject, and I believe so strongly in the rights of the individual that I, Mr. President, will continue to speak out. Having said that, of course, as you and I discussed, we're more than willing to speak out publicly and speak out in private with the North Korean leadership.
And again, I wonder why they haven't taken up our offer. This is going to be a great visit for us, Mr. It's going to be a great visit because it's a chance for me to say clearly to the South Korean people: We value our friendship; we appreciate your country; we share the same values; and we'll work together to make sure that our relationship improves even better as we go into the 21st century.
First, I have a question for President Kim. There is a difference between the axis of evil and the sunshine policy. Do you feel that the gap was overcome during this summit?
And right now, the Korean people are concerned about how inter-Korean relations will develop following the summit. How do you perceive the inter-Korean relations to develop in the future? In my view, I believe that the U. We both believe in democracy and a market economy.
Furthermore, we are allies. Korea and the U. And so that's our top priority.
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Furthermore, in matters related to North Korea, regarding the WMD or missiles or nuclear issues, our views have coincided. And during the summit meeting this morning, I believe that there was no difference in opinion between our two leaders. And we believe that it is through dialog that we will be able to resolve this issue, and we agreed on this point. Therefore, recently in the press, there were some indications that there might be some difference of opinion.
But during the conversation that I had this morning with President Bush, we were able to reconfirm that there is no difference of opinion between Korea and the U. And in the future, regarding North Korean issues, we were able to reaffirm that we have made the proposal to North Korea to dialog, and it is through dialog that we hope to resolve all of the issues. And so we hope that North Korea will, at an early date, accept our proposal and that inter-Korean dialog and dialog between North Korea and the U.
On September 15th, there was the fifth inter-Korean interministerial meeting, and several issues were decided. There were 10 agreements made regarding the meeting of separated families and the relinking of the Kyongui railroad line, and we are implementing these agreements.
Thank you. President, some South Koreans, perhaps even President Kim, had some concerns about your comments about the axis of evil and North Korea. How do you think your approach fits with and helps the sunshine policy? And if I may, President Kim, did you have any misgivings, sir, about the President including North Korea in the axis of evil? And secondly, why do you think that North Korea is genuine about opening up? We have heard here about their failure to participate in the reunification of families.