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Roh, Bush Reaffirm U.S.-Korea Alliance

Posted November. 18, 2005 08:26,   


South Korea’s President Roh Moo-hyun and U.S. President George W. Bush agreed Thursday that reducing military threats on the Korean peninsula and transferring the current status of armistice to a peaceful regime would contribute to the complete reconciliation and peaceful unification of the two Koreas.

In addition, they shared a common understanding that, separate from the six-party talks, which aim to solve the North Korean nuclear problem, negotiations on a peaceful regime should take place among countries directly related to the issue.

The two leaders held a summit in Gyeongju, a city in North Gyeongsang province, and adopted the “Gyeongju Declaration” that includes five main points about the U.S.-Korean alliance and peace on the Korean peninsula.

At the summit, President Roh and President Bush reaffirmed their commitment to a strong U.S.-Korean alliance, agreed to launch a strategic dialogue at the ministerial level, and will hold the first talks of that dialogue early next year.

The parties involved in the strategic dialogue will be Korea’s foreign minister and the U.S. Secretary of State.

They also reaffirmed that they will not tolerate the nuclear armament of North Korea, and they agreed on the principle of solving the North Korean nuclear issue by peaceful and diplomatic means. Along with this, they also announced they will seek ways to improve the human rights conditions of North Koreans.

At a press conference after the summit, Bush said regarding providing a light water reactor to the North that “we’ll consider the light water reactor at an appropriate time, and the appropriate time here is only after the North verifiably gives up its nuclear weapons and programs.’’

Regarding the second inter-Korean summit, Roh said that although it is desirable to hold a meeting with the North, “the substance of the meeting is even more important,” and said he will not make any immoderate efforts “just for the sake of the holding of the summit.” He added, “It will not be helpful for the nuclear problem or the two Koreas’ relationship to excessively pursue a summit just to achieve the goal of holding it.”

The two leaders also agreed to make joint efforts to develop a roadmap for reviewing visa waivers for Koreans.

On this subject, Foreign Minister Ban Ki-moon said, “President Bush ordered Secretary of State Rice to review this issue. The rejection rate for Korean visa applications for the U.S. is currently around 3.2%, so we are pretty close to the ‘less than 3% rejection rate’ requirement for a visa waiver.”

Yeon-WookJung jyw11@donga.com