Standing beside South Korean President Kim Dae-Jung earlier today, President Bush announced that he has no intentions of invading North Korea and that his goal in the region is peace. His remarks came as protests rocked the South Korean capital of Seoul and anger continued to simmer over Bush’s now infamous "axis of evil" remarks. In his State of the Union address last month, Bush labeled North Korea the third spoke in a dangerous Axis of Evil that also includes Iran and Iraq. The comment sparked outrage in all three countries, and led the North Korean government toaccuse Bush of declaring war on the region. The United States’ longtime ally, South Korea, did not altogether disagree. The government, as well as the citizens, have repeatedly called on Bush to withdraw–or at least temper–his remarks.
But if Bush’s visit to South Korea was meant to quell anger in the region, it is unclear whether he succeeded. On a trip up to the Demilitarized Zone, also today, Bush called the North Korean regime "despotic" and insisted that the burden was on the government in Pyongyang to prove that it did not plan to threaten its neighbors with weapons of mass destruction.
Meanwhile, down in Seoul, security remained tight as protests continued outside major U.S. facilities, including the American Embassy, the American Chamber of Commerce, U.S. firms, and military installations. Though the protests have been among the biggest in the country’s recent history, the Western media has scarcely mentioned them.
- Rupert Cornwell, reporter for the London Independent based in Washington.
- Tim Shorrock, reporter who has been writing about Korea for decades.
- Reverand Kiyul Chung, General Secretary of Korea Truth Commission (KTC) on US Military Massacres of Civilians.