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 Home > News & Policies > August 2008

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
August 6, 2008

Statement of the ROK-US Summit

     Fact sheet President Bush Meets with President Lee Myung-Bak of the Republic of Korea

President Lee Myung-bak of the Republic of Korea and President George W. Bush of the United States of America held a summit meeting in Seoul on August 6, 2008. The two Presidents recalled that their first summit meeting at Camp David on April 19 was a milestone in the development of a ROK-U.S. strategic alliance for the 21st century. In their August 6 meeting, the two leaders had in depth discussions on the development of the ROK-U.S. Alliance, the approval of the Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement, the North Korean nuclear issue and other North Korea-related issues, and ways to expand cooperation on important bilateral, regional and global issues.

The two Presidents agreed to develop the ROK-U.S. Alliance in a future-oriented way, based upon the traditional friendly relationship and mutual trust between the two nations. They also agreed to further strengthen strategic coordination and cooperation between the two countries with a view to the prompt resolution of the North Korean nuclear issue and the creation of a new peace structure on the Korean Peninsula and in Northeast Asia.

Our Alliance

The two Presidents affirmed that the Alliance between the Republic of Korea and the United States has contributed to peace and prosperity on the Korean Peninsula and in Northeast Asia for over fifty years. They reconfirmed their strong commitment to further developing the Alliance's fundamental mission through enhancing the countries' combined defense capabilities and continuing to implement the relevant agreements concerning the transition of wartime operational control and the relocation and realignment of U.S. Forces in the Republic of Korea.

The two Presidents resolved to move forward with developing the Alliance into a strategic and future-oriented structure to better address changes in the security environment and future needs in the 21st Century. The two Presidents shared the view that on the basis of common values and trust, the scope of cooperation within the Alliance needs to broaden and deepen to encompass not only security cooperation, but also political, economic, social, and cultural cooperation. They further agreed to develop the Alliance in a way that will also contribute to peace and prosperity at the regional and global level.

Free Trade Agreement

The two Presidents reaffirmed that the Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement (KORUS FTA) will boost trade, increase economic growth and create jobs in both the United States and Korea, while also adding an enduring economic pillar to our two countries' bilateral partnership. Toward that end, the two Presidents committed themselves to working with their respective legislatures to approve the KORUS FTA as soon as possible.

North Korea

The two Presidents welcomed the progress made toward implementing the second-phase actions for the implementation of the Joint Statement of September 19, 2005 and shared the view that this progress contributes to peace and stability in Northeast Asia. They also agreed that a rigorous verification regime needs to be established in order to ensure the completeness and correctness of the declaration submitted by North Korea, and that the fulfillment of all the parties' obligations should be ensured through a monitoring mechanism within the Six-Party Talks framework.

The two Presidents urged North Korea to promptly complete its commitments in the second phase of the denuclearization process and, through third-phase actions, to implement full abandonment of all its nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs. The two Presidents reaffirmed their intent to take corresponding measures together with other participating countries in the Six-Party Talks, and agreed to continue close coordination between the Republic of Korea and the United States for the further progress in the Six-Party Talks.

The two Presidents made it clear that they are committed to helping North Korea integrate into the international community and thereby partake in the peace and prosperity on the Korean Peninsula and in Northeast Asia. The two Presidents reaffirmed their commitment to improving the human rights situation in North Korea and shared the view that in the process of normalizing relations, meaningful progress should be made on improving North Korea's human rights record.

President Bush reiterated his full support for President Lee's recent proposal to resume inter-Korean dialogue and his initiative to help improve the economic conditions for the North Korean people in the context of continued progress on denuclearization and to offer a path for the two Koreas to live side-by-side in harmony and prosperity, opening the way to their eventual unification. The two Presidents agreed to continue close cooperation and policy coordination on their relations with North Korea.

President Bush expressed his regret and condolences regarding the shooting death of a South Korean tourist at the Mt. Geumgang resort area on July 11, and urged relevant North Korean authorities to engage in inter-Korean dialogue to promptly resolve the case and prevent any recurrence of such a tragedy.

Broad-based Cooperation

President Bush expressed deep appreciation for the contribution Korea has made to peace and reconstruction in Iraq, Afghanistan and other conflict areas. The two Presidents affirmed their commitment to continue working to forge an international consensus on ambitious, realistic and achievable steps to respond to the challenge of global climate change, including through our joint efforts in the Major Economies Meeting process and the Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate. The two Presidents shared the view that more efforts by the international community are needed to address global issues and threats such as terrorism, WMD proliferation, transnational crimes, and energy security, and they agreed to continue close consultations on ways to cooperate in this regard.

The two Presidents agreed to actively promote close cooperation in the fields of civil space exploration, and space science and in the peaceful use of nuclear energy. The two Presidents also agreed to enhance mutual understanding and friendship between the two peoples by working to launch the Work, English Study and Travel (WEST) Program, which will provide an opportunity for Korean university students to study English, work, and enrich their knowledge and experience in the United States.

The two Presidents also noted that the two governments have made great strides toward the Republic of Korea's full membership in the U.S. Visa Waiver Program (VWP). They pledged to continue joint efforts to bring about Korea's participation in the VWP by the end of this year, thereby further solidifying the already strong people-to-people links between Korea and the United States.

President Lee welcomed President Bush's visit to Seoul which follows the Camp David Summit of last April and the Summit held last month on the occasion of the G-8 Summit. President Bush thanked the government and people of the Republic of Korea for their warm hospitality.