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President Bush Delivers Address At Dorasan Station, South Korea

Aired February 20, 2002 - 00:56   ET



JUANITA PHILLIPS, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: ...train station, a few hundred meters from the demilitarized zone separating North and South Korea. He's speaking to American troops there. Let's listen in.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And he's shown me where that road abruptly ends, right here at the DMZ. That road has the potential to bring the peoples on both sides of this divided land together. And for the good of all the Korean people, the North should finish it.

Traveling south on that road, the people of the north would see not a threat, but a miracle of peaceful development; Asia's third- largest economy that has risen from the ruins of war.

The people of the north would see more than physical wealth. They would see the creativity and spiritual freedom represented here today. They would see a great and hopeful alternative to stagnation and starvation. And they would find friends and partners in the rebuilding of their country.

South Korea's more than a successful nation, it is an example to the world. When nations embrace freedom, they find economic and social progress. When nations accept the rules of the modern world, they find the benefits of the modern world. And when nations treat men and women with dignity, they find true greatness.

When satellites take pictures of the Korean Peninsula at night, the south is awashed in light, the north is almost completely dark. Kim Dae-Jung has put forward a vision that can illuminate the whole peninsula. We want all the Koreans to live in the light.


My vision is clear. I see a peninsula that is one day united in commerce and cooperation, instead of divided by barbed wire and fear.

Korean grandparents should be free to spend their final years with those they love. Korean children should never starve while a massive army is fed. No nation should be a prison for its own people. No Korean should be treated as a cog in the machinery of the state.

And as I stated before the American Congress just a few weeks ago, we must not permit the world's most dangerous regimes to threaten us with the world's most dangerous weapons.

I speak of these convictions, even as we hope for dialogue with the North.

America provides humanitarian food assistance to the people of North Korea, despite our concerns about the regime. We're prepared to talk with the North about steps that would lead to a better future, a future that is more hopeful and less threatening. But like this road left unbuilt, our offer has gone unanswered.

Some day we all hope the stability of this peninsula will be built on the reconciliation of its two halves. Yet today, the stability of this peninsula is built on the great alliance between the Republic of Korea and the United States.

All of Asia, including North Korea, knows that America will stand firmly -- will stand firmly -- with our South Korean allies.


We will sustain our obligations with honor. Our forces and our alliance are strong, and this strength is the foundation of peace on the peninsula.

American forces receive generous support from our South Korean host, and we are very grateful. Together we are increasing the effectiveness of our military forces, even as U.S. troops become a less intrusive presence in Korea itself.

Americans are also very grateful for the tremendous outpouring of sympathy and support shown by the South Korean people following the terror of September the 11th.

Today, both our nations are cooperating to fight against terror, proving that our alliance is both regional and global.

The United States and South Korean are bound by common interests. Our alliance is defined by common values. We deeply value our own liberty and we care about the liberty of others.

Like the United States, South Korea has become a beacon of freedom, showing to the world the power of human liberty to bring down walls and uplift lives.

Today, across the minds and barbed wire, that light shines brighter than ever. It shines not as a threat to the North, but as an invitation. People on both sides of this border want to live in freedom and want to live in dignity without the threat of violence and famine and war.

I hope that one day soon this hope will be realized. And when that day comes, all the people of Korea will find in America a strong and willing friend.

May God bless you all.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This will conclude the event marking the joint visit by the U.S. and Korean heads of states to Dorasan Station. Before leaving the hall, President Bush and President Kim will greet as many guests as possible. Thank you.

PHILLIPS: And that was President George W. Bush outlining his vision for the Korean peninsula, speaking there at Dorasan Train Station at the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea.

Kelly Wallace was there when the president spoke. Let's cross to her now. Kelly, what were the main points to come out of the president's address?

KELLY WALLACE, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Juanita, you have seen this both here and then earlier in Seoul. President bush definitely taking a softer approach. As you know, lots of concerns here in South Korea after President Bush linked Iran, Iraq and North Korea as part of an "axis of evil." Many people believing those words increasing tensions with the North and basically inconsistent with efforts to engage with the North Koreans. SO the president here saying that he very much supports president Kim's Sunshine Policy of an engagement. And the symbolism here at this rail station, the president saying that his vision is clear that he sees a peninsula that is one day united in commerce and cooperation, instead of divided by "barbed wire and fear." There was no mention of -- quote -- "axis of evil." the president did say, though, that obviously concern about dealing with the world's most dangerous regimes and whether those regimes will get into their hands the world's most dangerous weapons. But, beyond that, this was a message of the president, saying that he too wants to see a united peninsula, supporting President Kim's Sunshine policy and calling on North Korea to reciprocate and follow the lead of South Korea and one day bringing peace to this nation here. Juanita?

PHILLIPS: Kelly he also spoke about his hopes for dialogue, saying that he'd offered to talk to North Korea but that offer had gone unanswered. I mean, how realistic a hope is that?

WALLACE: Well, exactly. He said that again here today, reiterating his offer to talk with the North Koreans. He said that during his news conference with President Kim Dae-Jung in Seoul, as well. Saying that the offer stands. As you said, of course, the president saying here that that offer, so far, has gone unanswered. Many believe that the president's tough talk really makes it even more impossible to think that the North Koreans will be willing to dialogue with the U.S. And some believe that the North Koreans can use the president's words as, really, an excuse not to have dialogue with teh United States. So, unclear, really if that offer would ever been -- be met with. But clearly, one of the messages this administration wanted to get out there is that the president is interested in dialogue, that the offer to meet with North Korea anytime, anywhere, still stands. But the message is, that offer has not been received so far. Juanita?

PHILLIPS: Kelly, Mr. Bush's comments about the "axis of evil" have -- have seemed to have got him into all sorts of trouble. Not just causing concern in South Korea, but also in Europe as well. Does it seem to you that he is now backing away, in effect, from -- from the original strength of those comments?

WALLACE: Well -- well, no. U.S. officials would say absolutely not, that he's not backing away at all. That he will continue to speak out about his concerns about countries like North Korea, Iran and Iraq, about the threats these countries could pose to the United States, its allies and the rest of the world.

But what we are seeing is, maybe, sort of a softening of -- of the dialogue and more consultation during these face-to-face meetings to explain exactly what this administration is thinking. You heard the president, during his news conference with President Kim Dae-Jung, say that the U.S. has no intention of invading North Korea.

Clearly trying to get that message out to anyone concerned about any imminent military attack. There have been lots of concerns, you know, in part of -- in terms of European allies -- very concerned about whether this administration is sort of moving from a military campaign in Afghanistan and taking that military approach to other parts of the world. But the message from the president, the secretary of state, is that -- he says they are not preparing for war. That they are speaking out about the dangerous countries and the threats that these countries may pose, but also, that they are looking at a variety of approaches, diplomatic, Economic, political. But, also, that no option is off the table.

So it's a little bit of a softening, Juanita, of the rhetoric, you could say. But U.S. officials would say the president not backing away from his concerns about those nations at all.

PHILLIPS: Okay, thanks for that, Kelly. Kelly Wallace following the U.S. president on his Asia tour.




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