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Remarks Prior to Discussions With President Kim Dae-jung of South Korea and an Exchange With Reporters in Shanghai

October 19, 2001

President Bush. I've been looking forward to yet another meeting with our friend the leader of South Korea. We had a good meeting in Washington, DC. Now we have a second meeting to discuss our common interests.

First, we'll spend a lot of time talking about the war against terror. South Korea has been very firm in their support for the United States and the people of the United States. The President was very quick to respond, and I want to thank you, sir.

Secondly, I look forward to affirming our support for trade with South Korea. We'll discuss the new round of trade negotiations.

Thirdly, and as importantly, I'll confirm our support for the President's Sunshine Policy with North Korea. We appreciate his leadership on this very important issue, and I have looked forward to explaining to the President that we, after having reviewed our policy, like I told him we would do, our policy toward North Korea—we have done so, and we've offered Kim Chongil the chance to meet with United States representatives. So we look forward to hearing a positive response from him.

In the meantime, the President is taking his policy and moving it forward, and we're very supportive of that policy.

President Kim. First of all, ladies and gentlemen, what I would like to say is that I would like to convey our most sincere condolences and sympathies to the people of America for their tremendous loss and the pain and the suffering that they suffer due to the terrorist attack.

And also, ladies and gentlemen, I would like to applaud and show my great respect for the leadership of President Bush, for his calm composure and his very wise decisions in bringing together, first of all, the people of America together so that they will be able to effectively fight this war against terrorism, and also for his outstanding leadership in bringing together the international community together in this fight to eradicate terrorism. I would like to take this opportunity to convey my most sincere congratulations and respect.

As a very close, staunch ally and friend and partner of the United States of America, the Republic of Korea will continue to take active participation in this war against terrorism. We will render all the necessary cooperation and assistance that they might need. And also as for the specifics as to what the Republic of Korea will do, we have already publicly stated our measures to help this war against terrorism, and we have notified the U.S. Government as well.

And also, ladies and gentlemen, after September 11th, the world has tremendously become a completely different place for us. No country, nobody on this Earth is safe from terrorism and from these heinous terrorists. We must work together; we must cooperate with each other so that the world will become once again a safe place for us to travel freely by air, so that all of us will be able to freely go live and to visit highrises and large apartment buildings, and also so that all of us will be able to safely open our own private mail. All these are very much in doubt these days, and we must cooperate with each other to fight this and eradicate terrorism. And I have great faith that we will, indeed, succeed and that we will be victorious in this war against terrorism. And once again, I would like to applaud the efforts of President Bush for leading this effort to this endeavor.

And ladies and gentlemen, so, during today's meetings with President Bush, it is my hope to have indepth discussions on the effective ways to counter terrorism. And also I wish to discuss, as President Bush mentioned, other issues of common interest.

APEC Support for Military Action in Afghanistan

Q. Mr. President, the APEC terrorism declaration will not mention Afghanistan or Usama bin Laden by name. Does this indicate a lack of support for military action in Afghanistan?

President Bush. I believe the APEC nations fully understand that not only terrorists should be brought to justice, but those who harbor terrorists should be brought to justice as well. I am confident that we've got strong support here with the leaders who are present here at Shanghai; I've talked to most of them on the phone. I can tell you that the support is near unanimous for not only the activities that are going on now but for the strategy of fighting terrorism in the long run.

These leaders understand that we're in a new type of war. They understand that the evil ones are a threat to established governments. They understand that for there to be peace throughout the generations, that we must be decisive and victorious. You heard the South Korean President. He's got a conviction about the need to fight terror; so do other world leaders.

Q. Is it not important to have the APEC nations endorse the kind of military action the United States is leading?

President Bush. The APEC leaders that I have talked to all—at least the ones I've talked to, fully understand that the United States, as well as other allies, will do what it takes to bring people to justice.

And secondly, the doctrine is more than just the people who perpetuate these crimes on the American people. It is any country that harbors them, feeds them, houses them, or funds them. And the world leaders understand that. And I am very grateful for the breadth of support we have received. So far you've heard from two world leaders today, President Jiang of China, President Kim of South Korea, both of whom stand side by side with the American Government and the American people.

And I am most pleased with the support we're receiving here, and I look forward to continuing to describe our efforts to our close friends and allies. And they will see in me a determination to succeed. And I fully understand that some, over time, may grow weary and may tire. But they'll realize the United States of America, under my leadership, will not. We must be successful in the war against terror.

The United States—I'm looking forward to sharing with our friend the President about the recent news in the United States, that we've—there have been some anthrax cases, where people have sent anthrax through the mail. And although I cannot pinpoint directly who did it, I will tell him, however, that anybody who were to do that in any country is obviously an evil person.

And we're fighting evil. We don't fight a religion; we fight evil people. There is widespread support for the coalition and widespread support for the aims and goals of this country.

APEC Terrorism Declaration/South Korea-U.S. Cooperation

[At this point, a question was asked in Korean, and a translation was not provided.]

President Kim. First of all, the Republic of Korea, the Government of the Republic of Korea during this APEC meeting will endorse, and we have been actively participating in endorsing this statement and the declaration condemning terrorism, international terrorism. We will continue to take a leading role in this fight against terrorism.

And secondly, we have notified and announced to the Government of the United States our own measures to help in this fight against terrorism. For example, we've decided to send, dispatch a mobile medical team. And also we will be dispatching not only transportation assets and equipment, but also we will be dispatching our military liaison officers, among other measures.

And also, whenever the need arises, the Republic of Korea, the Government will continue to closely consult with the U.S. Government.

Chairman Kim Chong-il of North Korea

[At this point, a question was asked in Korean, and a translation was not provided.]

President Bush. First, I look forward to talking to our friend about his attitudes. After all, President Kim has been a leader in seeking exchanges between families.

Secondly, as I mentioned, my administration wishes to begin a dialog with the Government of Kim Chong-il, yet he has refused to accept our invitation. I would hope that he would accept not only our invitation but seize an opportunity to bring more peaceful relations to the Korean Peninsula. He has an opportunity to lead. President Kim has given him that opportunity, and so have I. And I would hope he would seize the opportunity. I would hope he would show the world that he's interested in peace and interested in improving the lives of the citizens who live in North Korea. This is a moment in history where he can prove his worth. This is—part of our discussions today, of course, will be the Korean Peninsula.

Final question.

Relief Efforts in Afghanistan

Q. Relief organizations say that Afghanistan faces what could be the worst humanitarian crisis ever. Should there be any consideration to halting U.S. military strikes in order to get enough food into the country by winter?

President Bush. First of all, my Government and, I know, the leaders involved in the coalition are worried about the suffering in Afghanistan. The Taliban Government is seizing food. The Taliban Government refuses to allow for an efficient distribution of aid that has been assembled to help the Afghan people.

We will continue our military operations in such a way that it will not disrupt the delivery of food. And not only that, as a matter of fact, concurrent with our military operations will be the distribution of food. But the world must understand that the primary reason why food is not making it to starving people is the Taliban. If they were that interested in serving as representatives of the people, they would be encouraging the distribution of food.

We will continue to do everything we can to make sure that our commitment to aid to the Afghan people is fulfilled. We are the leading country, in terms of providing aid to the Afghan people. I have increased our budget from $170 million to—or asked to increase the budget to over $300 million of aid.

Our beef is not with the Afghan people. Our beef is with a repressive government that houses, aids, and abets terrorists.

Thank you all.

NOTE: The President spoke at 2:03 p.m. at the Portman Ritz-Carlton Hotel. In his remarks, he referred to Usama bin Laden, leader of the Al Qaida terrorist organization; and President Jiang Zemin of China. President Kim spoke in Korean, and his remarks were translated by an interpreter.

George W. Bush, Remarks Prior to Discussions With President Kim Dae-jung of South Korea and an Exchange With Reporters in Shanghai Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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