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Remarks Following Discussions With President Chun Doo Hwan of the Republic of Korea

April 26, 1985

President Reagan. President Chun was the first head of state to visit during my Presidency. And it was my pleasure to meet with him again today for a useful discussion of international and bilateral issues.

The ties linking the Republic of Korea and the United States are many and strong. Our security ties, which I reaffirm today, remain a linchpin of peace in Northeast Asia.

I vividly recall standing at the Korean demilitarized zone 17 months ago. Perhaps nowhere in the world is the contrast between our shared democratic values and communism clearer than it is there on the DMZ. And nowhere is it clearer that strength is the surest path to peace.

In reference to his country's security, President Chun and I shared concern about the continuing forward deployment of North Korean forces toward the demilitarized zone. We agreed that this deployment heightens the need for vigilance on our part.

The two Koreas today stand apart. But this may not always be so, and we pray it will not be. I expressed support to President Chun for the Republic of Korea's creative approach in engaging North Korea in direct talks. We share the conviction that the key to reducing tension lies in a direct dialog between the parties.

The Republic of Korea is a growing economic power, and President Chun and I discussed the contribution that economic development makes to stability and security on the Korean Peninsula.

President Chun and I agreed on the need to defend and expand the free market in our own relationship, and multilaterally. I expressed appreciation for the steps Korea has already taken in this regard. And we agreed to intensify the close consultations between our governments.

President Chun explained the steps his government has taken to further promote freedom and democracy. I welcomed the considerable progress that has already been made and expressed continuing support for such steps, which are contributing to the attainment of political progress. I reiterated our support for President Chun's commitment to a peaceful transfer of power at the end of his term in 1988.

President Chun also discussed another event of momentous importance, which is coming to Korea in 1988, the Seoul Olympics. I expressed our complete support for Seoul as the Olympic site and offered to share our experience from the 1984 Olympics to help make it the best ever.

The United States and Korea enjoy an especially warm relationship, and that was reflected in our talks today. We agreed that in addition to the annual U.S.-Korean security consultative meeting, the two governments should intensify their consultations on political matters in Northeast Asia.

The President and Mrs. Chun will be stopping in Hawaii on their way back to Korea. Nancy and I wish them a safe and a pleasant journey home. And we send with them the greetings of all of us to our friends, the Korean people.

President Chun. Mr. President, I deeply appreciated the opportunity today to discuss with you matters of significance to our two countries. First let me say that the reaffirmation by the President of the United States of the importance of continued endeavors to further develop and strengthen the existing ties between Korea and the United States will be wholeheartedly welcomed by the people of the Republic of Korea. It is my great pleasure to convey to the great people of the United States of America the expression of unswerving friendship of the Korean people along with my own, and I transmit their high respect to you for your excellency, President Reagan, as the leader of the free world.

I'm satisfied with the results of the very good talks that I had with you today. The talks demonstrate the solid foundation on which the traditional strong ties between our two countries rest. We pledge our continued effort to further consolidate the partnership between our two countries. We face the year 2000 with a sure feeling of confidence and hope.

President Reagan and I have shared the understanding of the present situation on the Korean Peninsula. I am convinced that the firm determination of the United States, in close cooperation with Korea, will resolutely cope with any military adventurism or terrorist attacks of North Korea against the peace of this region and that such efforts will greatly contribute to peace and stability of our region.

The next few years will be a crucial period for the prevention of another war on the Korean Peninsula and to establish a permanent peace on the Korean Peninsula. It is most reassuring therefore that the President of the United States has reaffirmed the firm commitment of the United States to the defense of Korea.

We also shared views that the endeavor to resolve the Korean question through direct dialog between South and North Korea are more important now than ever before. At the same time we exchanged views on a wide range of diplomatic cooperation with a view to maintaining and strengthening peace on the Korean Peninsula. The Korean Government is making, in good faith, efforts through direct dialog to do something about the antagonism and mutual distrust that have been allowed to accumulate over the years. We must ultimately achieve peaceful reunification of the divided land through democratic means. I believe that the cooperation of our friends, as well as other countries concerned, is of importance to the success of such peace efforts. In this connection, Mr. President, I appreciate your understanding and support for the efforts aimed at stability and peace of Korea and the region.

President Reagan and I also agreed that the expansion of trade, based on the principles of free trade, is important to the development of the world economy and that we will continue to strengthen our efforts to this end. Recognizing the steady increase of bilateral economic exchange, including trade, would contribute to the interest and common prosperity of both Korea and the United States. President Reagan and I have pledged our efforts to further enhance the economic partnership between our two countries. In particular, we discussed ways to achieve a balanced expansion of our bilateral trade and to strengthen mutual cooperation in the fields of energy, technology, and joint ventures in third countries. We agreed to further develop the framework for economic consultation between our two countries, including the annual Korea-U.S. economic consultations. In this regard, I stress that sustained growth of the Korean economy is essential to the security of the Korean Peninsula and thus to the stability of Northeast Asia. President Reagan also shares this view.

In addition, the President and I agreed to further promote bilateral exchanges in many areas, including social, cultural, educational, and sports fields, with a view to establishing a solid foundation for a deepened mutual understanding and friendship between our two countries.

Korea continues its efforts to build an open society on the basis of stability as we march toward a bright future of a democratic society with greater benefits for all, ensuring abundance and freedom for all citizens. Based on such development, Korea will be able to make ever more valuable contributions to the stability and prosperity of Northeast Asia and to further strengthen regional cooperation among the Pacific Rim countries.

At this particular juncture, the talks which I had today with President Reagan have indeed been most significant and timely.

Before closing my remarks, I would like to express my greatest respect and continued support for the unwavering and dedicated efforts of President Reagan to safeguard world peace and promote democracy everywhere. I wish to extend my sincere appreciation to His Excellency Ronald Reagan and Mrs. Reagan for the warm hospitality that has been accorded to us. I thank you very much indeed.

Note: President Reagan spoke at 1:29 p.m. at the South Portico of the White House. President Chun spoke in Korean, and his remarks were translated by an interpreter. Earlier, the two Presidents met in the Oval Office and then attended a luncheon in the Residence.

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

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