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Remarks Following a Meeting With President Roh Tae Woo in Seoul

February 27, 1989

Well, President Roh and I had very useful, wide-ranging discussions. We reviewed the political situation in this part of the world. I told him about my China visit, and we had a chance to review our relations with the Soviet Union as well. We are both pleased by trends toward relaxations of tension in this part of the world. President Roh's nordpolitik -- reaching out to China, the Soviets, and Eastern Europe -- and his initiatives toward North Korea contributed importantly to these trends.

The U.S. fully supports Korea's creative diplomacy. Despite such positive policies, some hard realities remain. Among these is that North Korea maintains the world's fifth largest military force, a force deployed just 25 miles north of here. And the United States remains committed to the security and freedom of the Republic of Korea. And I had an opportunity to make that point very clearly to President Roh. Perhaps some of the confidence-building measures that we've proposed, measures that have worked well in Europe, will also be applied to the Korean Peninsula.

Besides the diplomatic and security issues, we discussed ways to strengthen the free world economic system. We had a frank discussion of economic problems -- Korea being a very important trading partner with the United States. Korea has benefited from U.S. open markets, and I think we both agree we need to move as quickly as possible to fully open markets. We must expect fair access to the markets here. And I believe that President Roh understands that.

But all and all, the trip has been too short. The hospitality has been wonderful. And inasmuch as I do not want to make the Assembly mad -- the elected leaders in the various parties that represent Korea's democracy -- we should go.

But thank you, Mr. President, very much for an unforgettable visit.

Note: President Bush spoke at 2:49 p.m. at the Blue House, the official residence of President Roh.

George Bush, Remarks Following a Meeting With President Roh Tae Woo in Seoul Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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