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Remarks Following Discussions With President Vicente Fox of Mexico and an Exchange With Reporters in Los Cabos, Mexico

October 26, 2002

[President Fox made opening remarks in Spanish, and no translation was provided.]

President Bush. Vicente, thank you for inviting us here. This is a very beautiful part of the world, and we're so honored you're hosting this convention.

We did have a very good discussion, but I'm not surprised. After all, we're close friends. We discussed trade. We discussed commerce. We did discuss migration. Ever since I have been the President and Vicente has been the President, we have had a mutual desire to deal with the migration issue in a way that recognizes reality and in a way that treats the Mexican citizens who are in the United States with respect. And we will continue to work on this issue.

And we did talk about world peace and Iraq. Mexico is a member of the Security Council. We discussed how to keep the world peaceful, how to hold people to account, how to make sure the United Nations is effective. And I appreciate so very much the President and the Foreign Minister's desire to consult closely with the United States as we move forward to making the world more peaceful.

So we're—it's an honor to be here. It's going to be a very important conference, being held in a beautiful spot and hosted by a good friend, Mr. President.

We'll take a couple of questions.


Q. President Bush, we know that—we understand President Fox was going to talk to you about the impact that your subsidies would eventually have on Mexican illegal migration to the U.S. Did you have an answer for him?

President Bush. Ask the question again— agricultural subsidies?

Q. Migration——

President Bush. Oh, yes. Well, here's the answer. The answer is, the long-term answer for the migration issue is to work a way that encourages commerce on both sides of the border, so people can find jobs here in Mexico, for starters. That's the long-term solution.

And the short-term solution, we've got to recognize that wage differentials are going to cause people to want to come to the United States. And when they come to the United States, we've got to work to make sure they're treated with respect. And the issue is, how do we recognize the reality of two societies with a wage differential the way they are? Here on the border, the wage differential is narrowing— or on the border, wage differential is narrowing, so the migration pressure tends to come from interior of Mexico and the south of Mexico. And one of the things that the President and I have discussed in the past is, how best to develop industry together in the midst of Mexico, in the south of Mexico, so that people are more likely to find work at home.

Heidi [Heidi Pryzbyla, Bloomberg News]. Oh, sorry.

North Korea

Q. A senior administration official told us this morning that the goal with North Korea is to isolate them. What is your strategy for doing that without winding up in the same position that we were in, in 1994, with a failed agreement?

President Bush. Well, I'm glad you asked a senior administrative official. Our goal is to work with our friends in the region to convince Kim Chong-il to disarm. I made a positive step yesterday in Crawford when the President of China made a public declaration that—he said, "Like the United States, we share the desire to make sure the Korean Peninsula is nuclear weapons free."

Right after this meeting with President Fox, I'll be meeting with the leaders of Japan and South Korea, where we'll continue this dialog. So the strategy is to make sure that our close friends and our allies and people with whom we've got relations work in concert to convince Mr. Kim Chong-il that a nuclear-weapons-free peninsula is in his interests; it's in South Korea's interests, and it is in the world's interests.

[At this point, a reporter asked a question in Spanish. President Bush and President Fox responded in Spanish, and no translation was provided.]

U.N. Resolution on Iraq

Q. For President Fox—it's the same question, basically. For President Fox, are you prepared to support the U.S. position at the U.N. and vote for a resolution authorizing force?

And for President Bush, are there any consequences for nations that don't support our position at the U.N.?

President Bush. The only consequence, of course, is with Saddam Hussein. And if the U.N. does not pass a resolution which holds him to account and that has consequences, then as I have said in speech after speech after speech, if the U.N. won't act, if Saddam Hussein won't disarm, we will lead a coalition to disarm him.

Q. President Fox?

[President Fox responded to the question in Spanish, and no translation was provided.]

NOTE: The President spoke at 11 a.m. at the Las Ventanas al Paraiso Hotel. In his remarks, he referred to Foreign Minister Jorge Castaneda of Mexico; General Secretary Kim Chong-il of North Korea; President Jiang Zemin of China; President Kim Dae-jung of South Korea; Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi of Japan; and President Saddam Hussein of Iraq. A tape was not available for verification of the content of these remarks.

George W. Bush, Remarks Following Discussions With President Vicente Fox of Mexico and an Exchange With Reporters in Los Cabos, Mexico Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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