Go to contents

Bush Wants Lee`s U.S. Visit `Soon as Possible`

Posted January. 24, 2008 08:52,   


U.S. President George W. Bush has invited President-elect Lee Myung-bak to visit the United States as soon as possible.

President Bush made the invitation yesterday in talks with Lee’s special envoy Chung Mong-joon in Washington.

During the 20-minute meeting at the White House, Chung also delivered Lee’s invitation, saying the president-elect also hopes Bush can visit Korea at an appropriate time, to which the American leader responded positively.

A source close to Chung said, “The president-elect’s trip to the U.S. will be a working-level visit, and the venue will likely be the presidential retreat of Camp David, Maryland.”

Bush also expressed his willingness to visit Korea during the G-8 summit, which is scheduled for July in Hokkaido, Japan, the source said.

A Korean Foreign Affairs and Trade Ministry official added, “It is highly likely that President Bush will visit Korea in July or by at least August when the Beijing Olympics are held.”

The U.S. president reportedly emphasized the need to strengthen the bilateral alliance to resolve North Korea’s nuclear program. He also urged prompt ratification of the free trade agreement by Korea’s National Assembly.

In the meeting, Chung delivered a handwritten message from President-elect Lee, in which Lee stressed his incoming government`s eagerness to reinforce the bilateral alliance and his trust in Chung.

The meeting came in the form of a “drop by,” in which Bush visited the office of National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley while Hadley was holding a meeting with Chung.

Former Korean Foreign Minister Han Seung-joo, Korean Ambassador to the United States Lee Tae-sik and senior diplomat Cho Byung-je also attended the meeting.

Chung and Hadley agreed on the need to declare a long-term alliance between the two countries in the first Lee-Bush summit, which was tentatively named “Korea-U.S. Alliance Future Vision.”

“Chung suggested consultations to bolster mutual ties to Stephen Hadley, and Hadley gave a positive sign to address the issue during the summit,” said a source for Chung.