Ronald Reagan picture

Joint Statement Following Meetings With President Chun Doo Hwan of the Republic of Korea

November 14, 1983

1. At the invitation of President Chun Doo Hwan, the President of the United States and Mrs. Ronald W. Reagan paid a state visit to the Republic of Korea from November 12 to 14, 1983. The two Presidents met at the Blue House on November 12 and again on November 13 for discussions of both bilateral and world affairs. The talks were held in a most cordial and open atmosphere.

President Reagan addressed the National Assembly, visited field installations of both the Korean and the United States Armed Forces, and also met with senior Korean officials, other Korean citizens, and a group of American businessmen.

2. President Chun expressed his appreciation to President Reagan for America's steadfast support in the wake of the tragedies which the people of Korea have endured so recently: the September i Soviet attack on a Korean civil airliner, and the October 9 North Korean terrorist attack in Burma which tragically claimed the lives of 17 innocent Koreans, among them many of the nation's most important leaders in economics, diplomacy, and politics.

Both Presidents noted the thorough and conclusive investigation by the Government of Burma of the Rangoon bomb atrocity, which has produced unequivocal evidence that the North Korean regime perpetrated this deliberate act of state terrorism. They agreed that such acts cannot be tolerated, and called for effective international sanctions against North Korea. President Reagan affirmed his admiration for the resolution and courage of the Korean people and their leaders in the face of these barbaric acts.

President Chun expressed his condolences to President Reagan and the American people on the tragic loss of life caused by the October 23 attack on the United States Marine Barracks in Beirut. President Chun and President Reagan joined in declaring the unswerving opposition of the Korean and American peoples to such acts of terrorism, and pledged continued efforts to remove the scourge of terrorism from the earth.

3. The two Heads of State exchanged views on a variety of' international issues of mutual concern. President Reagan outlined United States determination to strengthen the defenses of the United States and its allies around the world, to bring about a reduction of tensions in volatile regions such as the Middle East, and to reach an agreement with the Soviet Union to reduce the global deployment of strategic weapons.

President Chun explained in detail the overall security situation on the Korean peninsula with particular reference to the continuing threat from North Korea, reflected in its military buildup and aggravated by its domestic problems.

Both Presidents reaffirmed the importance of maintaining deterrence and stability on the Korean peninsula, thereby ensuring peace there and in Northeast Asia, a region of critical strategic significance.

President Reagan stated that the United States would continue to fulfill its role and responsibilities as a Pacific power, dedicated to maintaining peace and stability in the region. President Chun avowed his full support for these efforts.

4. In particular, President Reagan, noting that the security of the Republic of Korea is pivotal to the peace and stability of Northeast Asia and in turn, vital to the security of the United States, reaffirmed the continuing strong commitment of the United States to the security of the Republic of Korea. The two Presidents pledged to uphold the obligations embodied in the Republic of Korea-United States Mutual Defense Treaty signed in 1953, noting the success of that alliance in deterring aggression for more than thirty years.

President Reagan stressed that the United States would continue to maintain United States forces in Korea and to strengthen their capabilities. President Chun reaffirmed his support for the presence in Korea of American military forces as part of the United Nations and Combined Forces Commands.

President Reagan noted that Korea spends six percent of its GNP on defense and further noted the efforts of the Republic of Korea to modernize and upgrade its defense capabilities. The two Presidents concurred that this program is essential if peace is to be maintained. President Reagan reconfirmed that the United States will continue to make available the weapons systems and technology necessary to enhance the strength of Korea's armed forces.

5. President Chun explained the Korean government's continuing efforts for the resumption of dialogue between South and North Korea and its policy for peaceful reunification with a view to easing tensions on the Korean peninsula, and achieving the Korean people's long-cherished aspiration for peaceful reunification. Expressing support of the United States for the sincere and patient efforts of the Republic of Korea, President Reagan especially noted President Chun's comprehensive Proposal for Democratic Reunification through National Reconciliation put forth on January 22, 1982.

President Reagan reconfirmed that the United States would not undertake talks with North Korea without full and equal participation of the Republic of Korea. The two Presidents reaffirmed that any unilateral steps toward North Korea which are not reciprocated toward the Republic of Korea by North Korea's principal allies would not be conducive to promoting stability or peace in the area.

6. President Reagan expressed his admiration and support for the expanding and increasingly active international diplomacy of the Republic of Korea, and took note of the determination of the Republic of Korea to pursue an open door policy of dialogue with all nations.

The two Presidents noted the significance of their respective nation's role as the hosts to important global gatherings and events, including the Los Angeles Olympics of 1984 and the Seoul Olympics of 1988. Both countries will abide by their commitments to admit representatives of all nations to participate in these international events.

7. Recognizing the growing importance of the Asia-Pacific region and also the growing sense of community among the Pacific rim countries, the two Presidents agreed that frequent exchanges at all levels among the nations of the Pacific are necessary to enhance regional cohesion. They also agreed that multilateral relations among the countries in the region should be further strengthened in the fields of trade, finance, science, technology, culture, and tourism.

8. The two Presidents expressed their belief that the Republic of Korea should be accepted in the United Nations pursuant to the principle of universality of the U.N. and that the entry of the Republic of Korea to the U.N. would contribute both to the reduction of tensions on the Korean peninsula and the maintenance of international peace. President Reagan promised continuing support for the entry of the Republic of Korea into the U.N.

9. The two Presidents affirmed the importance of defending and strengthening freedom and the institutions that serve freedom, openness, and political stability.

10. President Chun and President Reagan exchanged views on a range of economic issues. They noted the importance of ensuring that global economic recovery not be hindered by reversion to protectionism. In particular, President Reagan welcomed the trade liberalization measures being undertaken and planned by the Korean government, despite its continuing deficit in foreign trade and the global trend of protectionism. Both Presidents agreed that such steps are an example of the positive actions all trading nations must take to defend the world trade system against protectionist attacks and recognized an urgent need for concerted international efforts in this direction.

Both Presidents noted with satisfaction the continued expansion of bilateral trade, which totaled over $11 billion in 1982, making the Republic of Korea one of the United States' most important trading partners and fifth largest market for United States agricultural products, and the United States the Republic of Korea's largest trading partner in exports as well as imports. They agreed that this continued growth of bilateral trade attests to the vitality of U.S.-Korean economic relations.

President Chun also expressed his appreciation for President Reagan's strong commitment to free trade and hoped that the Republic of Korea's major export commodities will be given greater access to the United States market with the continuation of the Republic of Korea's eligibility for GSP benefits on a non-discriminatory basis. President Reagan took note of President Chun's views on these issues. In this regard, both Presidents recognized the necessity of coordinated actions by their respective governments to reduce various tariff and nontariff barriers.

11. President Chun explained the recent efforts by the Korean government to create a more favorable environment for foreign investment in the Republic of Korea and invited the United States to take advantage of such improved opportunities. Both Presidents noted that a hospitable climate for foreign investors in both countries will continue to contribute to the flow of technology and to an expansion of employment opportunities in the Republic of Korea and the United States. Both Presidents also noted that the continued participation of American firms in the Republic of Korea's major development projects by providing competitively-priced and high-quality goods and services is another indication of the strong and cooperative economic ties that link the Republic of Korea and the United States.

12. President Chun and President Reagan discussed prospects for further broadening cooperation in the fields of technology and energy. They agreed to further promote programs for scientific and technological cooperation.

President Reagan assured President Chun that the United States will remain a reliable supplier of energy resources and energy technology, and in particular, that the United States will seek to assist the Republic of Korea to obtain stable energy supplies in the event of a security emergency. In this regard, President Reagan noted positively the Korean government's efforts to build up energy reserves for economic emergencies. President Chun expressed his appreciation for the United States' pledge, and the Republic of Korea's interest in the purchase and development of energy resources in the United States.

13. President Chun and President Reagan took note of the strong and myriad bonds of friendship and cooperation that have linked the United States and the Republic of Korea in the post-war era, and judged those ties to be in excellent condition. As one reflection of the expanding scope and importance of those relationships, President Reagan informed President Chun of the intention of the United States to establish in the near future a consulate in Pusan, Korea's second greatest city and a focal point of the U.S.-Korean economic intercourse. President Chun welcomed that decision.

President Chun and President Reagan pledged to carry forward the full range of security, political, economic, scientific and cultural meetings and consultations on our joint agenda, in order to maintain and deepen our already excellent relations in those diverse fields.

14. The two Presidents underscored the necessity for the promotion of mutual understanding and exchanges between the Korean and American peoples, and agreed to work toward expanded cultural and educational exchanges. The two Presidents expressed their satisfaction with the promotion of American studies in the Republic of Korea as well as of Korean studies in the United States.

15. President and Mrs. Reagan expressed their deep appreciation to President and Mrs. Chun for the warm welcome they received in the Republic of Korea, and their heartfelt thanks to the people of the Republic of Korea for the hospitality, graciousness and good will they had been shown.

The two Presidents agreed that exchanges of visits between the two Presidents have contributed to the further development of the existing friendly relations between the two countries. In that context, President Reagan asked President Chun to visit Washington again at a mutually convenient time, and President Chun accepted that invitation with appreciation. Remarks Upon Returning From the Trip to Japan and the Republic of Korea November 14, 1983

Thank you all for coming out to greet us, and thank you for minding the store while we were away. I know I speak for Nancy and for everyone of our party when I say it's great to be home.

We won't keep you long, but I just want to tell you how proud I am of everyone who helped make this trip a great success. We traveled nearly 16,000 miles to visit two countries that are vital to us and to our future. Japan and Korea have very different roots from our own, but each of us is a Pacific nation, and we're bound together by a great treasure of shared values—our love of freedom and democracy, the drive, determination, and skill of our people, and our optimism for the future.

Mike Mansfield, our very wise Ambassador in Tokyo, likes to say, "The next century will be the century of the Pacific." And he's right. The East Asian and Pacific region is growing faster than any other region in the world. Japan has become our largest overseas trading partner, and Korea ranks among our top 10 worldwide. We're building a future together. This means we shoulder great responsibilities, but we also have tremendous opportunities. And working as partners to make tomorrow better and more secure is what this trip is all about.

Well, I'm pleased to report some good news. America's partnerships are stronger, and prospects for a more secure peace and prosperity are better today than a week ago.

In Japan we established an agenda for progress so we can solve problems and create jobs, security, and safety for our families and for theirs. That agenda ranges from efforts to lower trade barriers to assisting recovery of the U.S. auto industry, to expanding our energy trade, promoting greater investment in capital markets, cooperating in defense technology, encouraging exports and imports of high technology, coordinating our foreign assistance efforts, and expanding our cultural programs.

We also agreed on an approach to correct the imbalance between the Japanese yen and the American dollar. Our currencies should reflect the political stability and economic strength that our two countries enjoy. In Japan's case this will mean a stronger yen, which means that American products will compete more effectively in world markets.

Because of the breadth and complexity of these issues, I intend to establish a management group, under the leadership of the Vice President, to assure essential followup action. If each side is willing to give a little, then all of us will gain a lot.

Diplomacy is important. Strengthening the spirit of friendship is the best way to solve problems and create lasting partnerships. And I can't tell you how proud I was to have the historic opportunity to address the Japanese Diet and all the people of Japan. I told them what we Americans feel in our hearts—that we, like they, are people of peace, that we deeply desire a nuclear arms reduction agreement, and that we will never walk away from the negotiating table.

Those who disagree with the United States get plenty of publicity. But one thing becomes more plain to me each time I travel: Across the globe, America is looked to as a friend and as a leader in preserving peace and freedom. This was certainly true in Japan and Korea.

I was at one of the meetings in Korea, and I just assumed that Nancy was out sightseeing or probably even shopping for souvenirs. And knowing Nancy as well as I do, I wasn't surprised when I came home and found that she had two little Korean friends, Lee Kil Woo and Ahn Ji Sook. They have come over to the States where they're going to be treated at St. Francis Hospital in Roslyn, New York. And Nancy met them by way of a very remarkable woman, Harriet Hodges, who has succeeded in bringing some 600 children like this, who needed medical attention that could only be given here in this country, to bring them to the United States.

So, they've had their first Air Force ride—or airplane ride, and they've had their first helicopter ride, and they've been very active for some 16 or 17 hours. [Laughter]

I wish you could have been with us in Korea—a country scarred by the recent bombing in Rangoon and the Korean airliner tragedy. The South Koreans live under the shadow of Communist aggression. They understand the value of freedom, and they're paying the price to defend it. You know, sometimes you hear events are more symbolism than substance. Well, there's more than symbolism when over a million Koreans line the streets to wave and cheer Americans and to thank America for helping keep them free.

There's more than symbolism in the threat to the people of Seoul, who live within range of North Korean artillery just some 30 kilometers away. And there's more than symbolism in the danger to our American soldiers helping to guard the border of the DMZ, often in weather that leaves them freezing from their heads to their toes.

I have just been looking forward to telling the American people we've had such a wrong impression. I think most of us just sort of pictured our forces over there as kind of garrison troops, just waiting on hand that anything should happen. That's not true. They are combat ready, and they are the farthest advanced toward a potential enemy of any American forces in the world.

I reaffirmed to the Korean people America's commitment to their peace and freedom and encouraged them to develop further their democracy. And I must tell you that one of the most unforgettable experiences of my life was the time I spent Sunday afternoon and morning with our brave troops at the DMZ.

If you could have been with me, you would have been at the worship service Sunday morning that we had with our soldiers in an open field, less than a mile from one of the most tyrannical regimes on Earth. And there, singing, was a choir of little girls, not much bigger than this one, all orphans from an orphanage that is maintained and supported by our GI's. And they have done this with several others there. The young men and women of the 2d Infantry Division maintain those institutions.

And to hear these children closing the service, singing "America, the Beautiful" in our language, was a spiritual experience. And you would have heard, if you'd been at that service, their chaplain telling us that we were standing on the edge of freedom. Being there teaches us that freedom is never free, nor can it be purchased in one installment. We can only struggle to keep it, pass it on to the next generation, and hope they'll preserve it for their children and their children's children.

And that's the risk that our soldiers have accepted day in and day out for more than 30 years. As that chaplain reminded us, "Greater love hath no man than to lay down his life for his friends." And this they have done at the DMZ. I was honored to meet our men, and I promised them that I would tell the American people how crucial their jobs are, not just to the people of Korea but to people everywhere who love freedom. So much of what we take for granted each day we owe to these heroes and others like them around the world. They make us so proud to be Americans.

Coming home from Korea and Japan, all of us bring with us renewed energy and renewed commitment to our fundamental goals, building a new era of peace and prosperity-just as soon as we readjust our clocks. [Laughter]

God bless you, and God bless this wonderful country. Thank you.

Note: The President spoke at 12:02 p.m. on the South Lawn of the White House to administration officials and members of the White House staff.

Ronald Reagan, Joint Statement Following Meetings With President Chun Doo Hwan of the Republic of Korea Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

Filed Under




Washington, DC

Simple Search of Our Archives