중앙데일리

Visit said to allay Korean fears

Bush leaves, vows to end terror threat

Feb 21,2002
U.S. President George W. Bush left for China on Thursday morning, wrapping up a three-day visit to South Korea that was hailed as a success for appeasing South Korean anxiety over the "axis of evil" remark.

Dressed in military fatigues, Mr. Bush left from the U.S. Osan Air Base, where he spoke in front of 6,000 U.S. troops who came from Yongsan, Gunsan and Taegu camps. "We won't stop until the threat of global terrorism has been destroyed," Mr. Bush said.

He said that the 37,000-strong U.S. troops stationed in South Korea will remain, stressing that reconciliation, cooperation and stability on the Korean Peninsula rest on military force. He said that the United States will not permit the world's most dangerous regime to threaten the United States and its allies with weapons of mass destruction.

He did not repeat the term "axis of evil" during his three-day visit.

"The fruit of the summit is that it eliminated the concern for the peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula," Park Sun-sook, presidential spokeswoman said. "In particular, President Bush's statement that the United States had no intention of invading North Korea alleviated such concerns."

The two leaders met three times on Wednesday - for a 95-minute morning session, a joint visit to Dorasan Station near the Demilitarized Zone and for dinner. During the dinner reception at the Blue House, Mr. Bush talked informally with leading U.S. businessmen.

The businessmen said they received the impression that Mr. Bush was satisfied with the outcome of his visit to South Korea.

South Korean government officials said that Mr. Bush had refrained from speaking off-the-cuff and skeptically about North Korea, partly to relay the message that South Korea was a safe country for foreign investment.

Civic groups that had protested Mr. Bush's visit held a press conference Thursday at Myongdong Cathedral. "It is fortunate that Mr. Bush made it clear that the United States will not go to war with North Korea," a statement said, but added that concern remained over Mr. Bush's harsh words toward North Korea.

by Chun Young-gi




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