I. United States
1. US-ROK Summit
Reuters (Arshad Mohammed, “BUSH SEES ‘EVIL’ N.KOREA THROUGH BULLETPROOF GLASS,” South Korea, 02/20/02) reported that standing atop a sandbag bunker and protected by bulletproof glass, US President George W. Bush got his first direct look at the DPRK. Peering through binoculars at the DPRK, Bush bluntly called it “evil.” As Bush stood behind bulletproof glass installed for his visit, a military officer pointed toward a DPRK museum that displays anti-US propaganda, including the axes used to kill two US servicemen in 1976. “Hear that?” Bush called out from the camouflage-draped bunker, which sits about 100 meters from the border. “The axes that were used to slaughter two US soldiers are in the peace museum. No wonder I think they’re evil.” Asked what he thought when he looked out over the North, Bush said: “We’re ready.”
The New York Times (Elisabeth Bumiller, “NORTH KOREA SAFE FROM U.S. ATTACK, BUSH SAYS IN SEOUL,” Seoul, 02/20/02), The Wall Street Journal (Jim Vandehei and John Larkin, “BUSH KEEPS UP HEAT ON NORTH KOREA BUT RULES OUT ANY MILITARY INVASION,” Seoul, 02/20/02), the Washington Post (Mike Allen, “BUSH HAS TOUGH TALK FOR N. KOREA,” Seoul, 02/20/02), and Agence France-Presse (“US WILL NOT INVADE NORTH KOREA,” 02/20/02) reported that US President George W. Bush said today that the US had no intentions of invading or attacking the DPRK and that his goal in the Korean peninsula was peace. Bush said that he fully supported the “sunshine policy” of negotiations with the DPRK. However, Bush said that dialogue with the DPRK was not inconsistent with the tough “axis of evil” talk he first used in the State of the Union address three weeks ago. “Let me explain why I made the comments I did,” Bush said. The president said he spoke out because he believed in freedom and was “troubled” by a regime that tolerated starvation. “I worry about a regime that is closed and not transparent,” he added. “I’m deeply concerned about the people of North Korea.” Bush also said it was not counterproductive to lash out at a country and its leader and then expect the leader to sit down agreeably for talks. [The New York Times and Wall Street Journal articles also appeared in the US State Department’s Early Bird Report for February 20, 2002.]
Agence France-Presse (“BUSH AND KIM URGE NORTH KOREA BACK TO NEGOTIATING TABLE,” 02/20/02) reported that US President George W. Bush and ROK President Kim Dae-Jung made appeals at the heavily fortified DMZ for the DPRK to return to the negotiating table. But Bush also warned the North Wednesday that he would not let the world’s “most dangerous regimes” acquire its “most dangerous weapons.” Bush declared that the ROK and the US were “blood allies” and added: “Here at Dorasan station, a stone’s throw from the military demarcation line, I declare that this staunch Korea-US cooperation will continue without any wavering. I earnestly hope that the North Korean authorities will soon respond to our sincere proposal for the dialogue.”
Reuters (“BUSH SAYS PUT DOWN MARKER TO N.KOREA ON SEOUL TRIP,” Seoul, 02/20/02) reported that US President George W. Bush said on Thursday, “In our dealings with North Korea we’ve laid down a clear marker, we will stand by the people of South Korea. We will not permit the world’s most dangerous regimes to threaten us, or our friends or our allies with weapons of mass destruction.” Speaking to thousands of US troops at an air base south of Seoul, Bush said stability on the divided Korean peninsula was built on US and ROK forces ranged to deter the DPRK’s one- million-strong military. “We hope for a day when the stability of the Korean peninsula is built on peaceful reconciliation of North and South,” he said. “Today, however, the stability of this peninsula is built on the military might of our great alliance.”
Reuters (Paul Eckert, “TOUGH SECURITY, PROTESTS AS BUSH VISITS SOUTH KOREA,” Seoul, 02/20/02) reported that the ROK’s capital bristled with 20,000 riot police Wednesday as US President George W. Bush met ROK President Kim Dae-jung for talks on security. With leftist activists staging all-day protests against Bush’s tough stance on the DPRK, the Bush’s route to Seoul’s Blue House presidential mansion was lined with fur-capped police with riot gear. At Seoul’s Maroni Park, hundreds of protesters, mostly radical students and farmers, marched against Bush’s visit and burned home-made US flags. Many ordinary ROK citizens have also been upset by Bush’s “axis of evil” description of the DPRK. “It just doesn’t make sense to say that. He should not talk that way,” said Lee Kwan-koo, a 60-year-old taxi driver. “He spoiled our festival mood over the World Cup finals, making foreign tourists nervous about coming to Korea,” he said.
2. DPRK-US Relations
Reuters (“N.KOREA MUM ON BUSH TRIP, CALLS U.S. ‘ROGUE STATE,'” Seoul, 02/20/02) reported that the DPRK was silent on Wednesday about US President George W. Bush’s visit to the ROK. However, the DPRK’s official media called the US “a rogue state running amok in the international community.” DPRK newspaper, Rodong Sinmun continued its campaign against Bush’s remarks and US policies to curb weapons of mass destruction, “The U.S. bellicose forces are well advised to cool down their war fever and discontinue the blackmail at once.”
3. PRC-US Visit
Reuters (Arshad Mohammed, “BUSH HEADS TO CHINA 30 YEARS AFTER NIXON TRIP,” Seoul, 02/21/02) US President George W. Bush flies to the PRC on Thursday, arriving 30 years to the day after the landmark visit by former President Richard Nixon. Despite disagreements over human rights, weapons proliferation, Taiwan and missile defense, US officials suggested that Bush’s two days of talks with PRC President Jiang Zemin were likely to be more cordial than contentious. However, the Bush plans to press Jiang to respect human rights and religious freedom. Bush’s visit is also expected to give him a glimpse of Hu Jintao, the PRC vice president widely seen as Jiang’s heir apparent. However, there is unlikely to be any formal one-on-one meeting between the Bush and Hu. On Friday he is due to have breakfast with Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji and to speak at Beijing’s Tsinghua University.
Reuters (“BUSH TO BRING UP RELIGIOUS FREEDOM IN CHINA,” Seoul, 02/20/02) reported that US President George W. Bush said on Wednesday that he would raise the issue of religious freedom in the PRC. Speaking after talks with ROK President Kim Dae-jung, Bush told a news conference he would continue a discussion he had with PRC President Jiang Zemin on religion in Shanghai last year and urge the PRC to hold talks with the Vatican. “In my last visit with President Jiang, I shared with him my faith. I talked to him in very personal terms about my Christian beliefs.” He said he told Jiang last October: “I would hope that he, as a president of a great nation, would understand the important role of religion in an individual’s life.” “I will do so again.
Agence France-Presse (“CHINA STEPS UP SECURITY FOR BUSH VISIT,” 02/20/02) reported that PRC police imposed heavy security on part of central Beijing for US President George W. Bush’s visit and dissidents reported tighter surveillance of their movements. Dozens of uniformed city police and armed national police on Wednesday were deployed around the St. Regis Hotel, near the US embassy, where Bush is expected to stay. A tight ring of security was thrown around the entire block where the hotel sits. Police even shut down one of the best-known icons of American culture in the city, the vast, neon-lit Kenny Rogers Chicken Roasters restaurant next to the hotel. Security tape sealed off hotel grounds and armed police could be seen marching through the parking lot in front of the hotel. “We are enforcing a blockade. We don’t have to give you any explanations,” said an armed police officer.
4. Taiwan-US Arms Sales
Reuters (Jim Wolf, “PENTAGON TO DISCUSS TAIWAN ARMS SALES AT MEETING,” Washington, 02/20/21) reported that the US Defense Department said on Wednesday that it would take part next month in a closed-door conference that private organizers call a “defense summit” with Taiwan, a first-of- its-kind event. The so-called US-Taiwan defense summit has been advertised as the first in a possible series of such events. Scheduled for March 10-12 at a St. Petersburg, Florida, hotel, the session is being organized by the US-Taiwan Business Council. The business council said that Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz would address the conference, sponsored by top US defense contractors and declared off- limits to media.
II. Republic of Korea
1. US Pacific Security
The International Herald Tribune (Don Kirk, “BUSH REAFFIRMS PACIFIC SECURITY,” Seoul, 02/20/02) reported that Bush elaborated on his denunciation of an “axis of evil” formed by DPRK, Iraq and Iran and assured the Japanese Parliament of his commitment to fight if necessary to protect US allies. He promised that the US would “continue to show American power and purpose” in defense of the Philippines, Australia and Thailand, as well as ROK, and declared himself “more committed than ever to a forward presence in this region.” Bush also warned in Japan that he was prepared to carry the war on terrorism beyond Afghanistan. As he arrived in ROK, the US president made it clear earlier that he was not about to back down from his stance, which appears to be at odds with President Kim Dae Jung’s ‘sunshine policy’ of reconciliation with DPRK.” Bush declared, “We will continue to show American power and purpose in support of the Philippines, Australia and Thailand. We will deter aggression against the Republic of Korea, as the success of this region is essential to the entire world, and I am convinced the 21st century will be the Pacific century.”
2. Anti-Bush Protests
Joongang Ilbo (Park Hyun-young, “PROTESTS GREET BUSH HERE,” Seoul, 02/20/02) reported that protests by civic groups denouncing US President Bush’s visit continued in central Seoul and at Incheon International Airport on Tuesday. Nine civic groups, including the Solidarity for Unification, held a press conference and protest rally in front of Incheon Airport’s main gate. The protesters demanded that the US “stop hostile policies toward the DPRK, stop stirring up tension in the Korean Peninsula, and stop forcing the ROK to purchase weapons like F-15 fighter jets.” The groups also vowed to engage in a “shadow protest,” following Bush during his visit. More than 300 members of religious groups also held walking protest rallies denouncing US policy towards DPRK.
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