[EDITORIALS]Bush visit is a crucial one

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[EDITORIALS]Bush visit is a crucial one

U.S. President George W. Bush will visit South Korea, Japan and China next month. It will be Mr. Bush's first trip to Korea since he became president last January. Summit meetings between South Korea and the United States were held in Washington in March and in Shanghai in October. Mr. Bush's visit is somewhat late, considering the traditional alliance of the two countries and the importance of the situations on the Korean Peninsula.

We hope that this Korea-U.S. summit will bridge the gap between the views of the two countries over South Korea's policy of engagement with North Korea, and will solidify the traditional alliance between the United States and Korea.

Since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, the world has needed the construction of a new international order. Mr. Bush has clarified a doctrine of power-led diplomacy. He said that the United States would eradicate terrorism. Some officials in the Bush administration are insisting that the United States will have to take hard-line policies toward North Korea, Iraq and other countries, if those countries jeopardize American interests. In the midst of the world's attention on the U.S. war against terrorism, President Bush will make a tour of Northeast Asian countries, including South Korea.

The situation between the United States and North Korea has brought about the cooling of inter-Korean relations. The fact that South Korean President Kim Dae-jung's term of office is coming to an end has also deteriorated inter-Korean relations. There have been no signs of improvement or change in the relations between the United States and North Korea, though resumption of the talks between the two countries were discussed in June.

Accordingly, South Korea and the United States should have heart-to-heart talks when Mr. Bush comes to Seoul. The two countries should fully discuss Washington's policy toward North Korea and its recognition of the situations on the Korean peninsula and Seoul's sunshine policy, and reach an agreement about all of those matters.
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