|The White House
President George W. Bush
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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
September 7, 2007
President Bush Meets with South Korean President Roh
3:29 P.M. (Local)
PRESIDENT BUSH: Mr. President, thank you for your time. As usual, we had a very friendly and frank discussion about important matters. We discussed our bilateral relations, which are very strong. And we thank you for your contributions to helping young democracies, such as Iraq.
But we spent a lot of time talking about the six-party talks and the progress that is being made in the six-party talks. I understand you're having a summit with the leader of North Korea, and I appreciate the fact that you will urge the North Korean leader to continue to adhere to the agreement that he made with us.
And in our discussions I reaffirmed our government's position that when the North Korean leader fully discloses and gets rid of his nuclear weapons programs, that we can achieve a new security arrangement in the Korean Peninsula, that we can have the peace that we all long for. You and I discussed the Northeast Peace and Security agreement -- arrangement, which we support.
And so I'm optimistic. There's still more work to be done. But nevertheless, Mr. President, when we have worked together we have shown that it's possible to achieve the peace on the Korean Peninsula that the people long for.
So thank you, sir.
PRESIDENT ROH: (As translated.) As President Bush has stated, we had a very constructive discussion on six-party talks and the North Korean nuclear issue, as well as other bilateral issues between our two countries.
Before we discussed these issues I reaffirmed my support for President Bush and his policies and efforts in Iraq to bring peace. I also thanked the President for his efforts in the visa waiver program -- for his constructive position on this issue.
We both agreed on the positive outlook for the six-party talks. We believe that this progress is very meaningful. And I also thanked President Bush for his resolve to bring peace to the Korean Peninsula and Northeast Asian region, for making a strategic decision to bring peace to the region through dialogue.
As is outlined in the 2005 September 19th joint statement, we have a plan for the peace regime on the Korean Peninsula, and President Bush also reaffirmed in November of last year in Vietnam of his willingness and his resolve to end the Korean War officially, once and for all. Today we revisited this issue. President Bush reaffirmed his determination to replace the current status in the Korean Peninsula with a permanent peace regime, and he stressed that he would be proceeding with this move after the North Korean nuclear issue is resolved.
We also share the view that should there be more progress in the six-party process, this will be followed by talks to initiate a Northeast Asian regional security mechanism. I also reassured President Bush that the inter-Korean summit will underpin the progress at the six-party talks, that relations -- the inter-Korean relations and the six-party talks should be a mutually reenforcing relationship.
I think I might be wrong -- I think I did not hear President Bush mention the -- a declaration to end the Korean War just now. Did you say so, President Bush?
PRESIDENT BUSH: I said it's up to Kim Jong-il as to whether or not we're able to sign a peace treaty to end the Korean War. He's got to get rid of his weapons in a verifiable fashion. And we're making progress toward that goal. It's up to him.
PRESIDENT ROH: I believe that they are the same thing, Mr. President. If you could be a little bit clearer in your message, I think --
PRESIDENT BUSH: I can't make it any more clear, Mr. President. We look forward to the day when we can end the Korean War. That will end -- will happen when Kim Jong-il verifiably gets rid of his weapons programs and his weapons.
Thank you, sir.
END 3:40 P.M. (Local)