Bush, Roh agree to push six-way talks

Posted in Koreas | 07-Feb-05 | Author: Choi Hoon, Park Shin-hong| Source: Joong Ang Daily

Roh and Bush met at the APEC meeting in Chile last November.

February 07, 2005 - President Roh Moo-hyun and U.S. President George W. Bush agreed in a telephone conversation Saturday to make joint efforts to resume the six-party talks on the North Korea nuclear problem as early as possible.

Kim Man-soo, the Blue House deputy spokesman, said Mr. Bush called Mr. Roh Saturday morning and thanked him for Korea's help in establishing peace in Iraq. According to Mr. Kim, Mr. Roh replied, "I think it is meaningful that the Iraqi people have entered a stage of democratic self-government through the first-ever fair elections in the country. Korea will cooperate to secure peace in Iraq."

The two leaders then discussed the North Korean nuclear issue, Mr. Kim said. Mr. Roh reportedly told Mr. Bush, "The six-party talks should take place as soon as possible to solve the nuclear issue peacefully. All participants in the talks, including Korea and the United States, should make redoubled efforts."

Mr. Bush said he would closely cooperate with Mr. Roh to achieve peace, according to Mr. Kim.

Following the conversation, Unification Minister Chung Dong-young chaired a National Security Council meeting and said the administration would make its best efforts to resume the six-party talks.

The Foreign Ministry reaffirmed yesterday that minister Ban Ki-moon will visit Washington and meet with Condoleezza Rice, the newly appointed U.S. secretary of state, on Feb. 14.

"Mr. Ban and Ms. Rice will seriously discuss the North Korean nuclear issue and measures to advance the South Korea-U.S. relationship," Lee Kyu-hyung, the ministry's spokesman, said yesterday.

Song Min-soon, the assistant to Mr. Ban who will be the chief Korean delegate to the six-party talks, will accompany Mr. Ban to Washington.