The White House
President George W. Bush
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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
October 20, 2003

President Bush Meets with President Roh Moo-hyun
Joint Statement Between the United States and the Republic of Korea

      In Focus: APEC

On October 20, 2003, President George W. Bush of the United States of America and President Roh Moo-hyun of the Republic of Korea held a summit meeting in Bangkok, Thailand. At the meeting, the two Presidents noted with satisfaction that there has been smooth progress in building a comprehensive and dynamic alliance relationship between the two countries as declared in the Joint Statement adopted on May 14. In addition, the two Presidents had a broad and sincere exchange of views on various issues between the two countries, including North Korea's nuclear issue, Iraq reconstruction, and the issue of upgrading the U.S-ROK alliance.

Regarding the U.S. request for the dispatch of additional troops to Iraq, President Roh explained that as a result of conducting a comprehensive review of the overall situation, including the importance of the U.S.-ROK alliance and national interest, the ROK government has decided to dispatch additional troops to Iraq so as to provide assistance for a prompt establishment of peace and reconstruction in Iraq. President Roh stated that the size, type and form of the troops as well as the timing of the dispatch will be decided by taking into account public opinion, the result of the survey teams and the characteristics and capability of the Korean military forces. President Bush expressed respect and gratitude to President Roh for making the principled determination to dispatch troops. President Bush also stated that the ROK's dispatch of troops to Iraq will not only further strengthen the U.S.- ROK alliance and contribute to the reconstruction and stabilization of Iraq, but also will serve as an opportunity to increase the ROK's prestige in the international community.

President Bush and President Roh reconfirmed the principles agreed upon in their summit meeting in May, that they will not tolerate nuclear weapons in North Korea and that they are committed to a peaceful resolution of the issue. The leaders noted the importance of the Six Party talks for achieving the goal of the complete, verifiable and irreversible elimination of North Korea's nuclear weapons programs. The two Presidents shared the view that it is desirable to hold the next round of the talks at an early date and to make concrete progress. President Bush reiterated that the U.S. has no intention of invading North Korea and that the U.S. expects North Korea to end its nuclear weapons ambitions. President Bush explained how security assurances might be provided within the multilateral context, conditioned on North Korea's progress in nuclear dismantlement. President Roh expressed appreciation for President Bush's efforts toward resolving the issue. The two Presidents agreed to study ways and means to seek progress in the next round of the talks. The two Presidents also urged North Korea to respond positively to the other parties' diplomatic efforts and to refrain from any action which would exacerbate the situation.

President Bush and President Roh noted that the strong alliance between the ROK and the U.S. and the presence of US Forces Korea have made great contributions to peace and stability on the Korean peninsula as well as in Northeast Asia. The two Presidents agreed to pursue the relocation of USFK bases in careful consideration of the security environment on the Korean peninsula.

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