North Korean nukes and the press

This is being played much differently in the Korean press than it is in, say, the NY Times. The Times stressed that there was tension and snags between Bush and Roh, the Korean papers are not reporting it that way at all.

Here is the Times, reflexively anti-Bush:

New York Times:

headline: "Bush and S. Korea Leader in Testy Exchange"

SYDNEY, Australia (AP) -- In an unexpected twist of events, President Bush's bout of diplomacy in Asia hit a snag in dealings with longtime ally South Korea and drew a conciliatory gesture from ''Axis of Evil'' member North Korea.

Just hours after Bush suffered an awkward moment on Friday with South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun over terms for ending the Korean War, Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill announced a breakthrough in efforts to get North Korea to abandon its nuclear program.

North Korea has invited nuclear experts from the United States, China and Russia into the country to survey and recommend ways of disabling all of its atomic facilities by the end of the year, Hill, the chief U.S. envoy to the communist regime, announced Friday. The team will go next week.

And here is a roundup of Korean papers, spanning the political spectrum here. There are no mentions in any of these papers of a "testy exchange" at all that I can find, not even in the editorials on the subject.

Korea Times:

U.S. President George W. Bush has expressed his willingness to sign a peace treaty on the Korean Peninsula with South President Roh Moo-hyun and North Korean leader Kim Jong-il.

In his summit with Roh here, Friday, Bush urged North Korean leader Kim Jong-il to scrap his nuclear weapons program in a prelude to a peace treaty to terminate the fragile armistice signed at the end of the 1950-53 Korean War.

Bush made the remarks during his talks with Roh on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum.

``We look forward to the day when we end the Korean War. That will happen when Kim Jong-il verifiably dismantles his weapons program,'' Bush said.

The U.S. President said he is ``optimistic'' but there is still more work to do, adding: ``Nevertheless, if we work together, we have showed that we can bring peace on the Korean peninsula as many people have hoped for.''

Roh told reporters that he and Bush shared the view that should there be more progress in the six-party talks, which would be followed by talks to initiate a regional security mechanism in the Northeast Asian region.

INSIDE JoongAng Daily:
If North Korea gives up its nuclear weapons, Washington is willing to offer a formal peace treaty to Pyongyang, U.S. President George W. Bush said yesterday after a meeting with South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun held on the sidelines of a regional forum.

In the Dong-A Ilbo:

On September 7, U.S. President George W. Bush signaled his willingness to sign a peace treaty with North Korea by saying, “If North Korean leader Kim Jong Il verifiably ends its nuclear weapons program, the United States will formally end the Korean War.”

In a press conference after his summit meeting with South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun in Sydney, Australia, President Bush said, “If the North Korean leader fully declares and dismantles the nuclear program, many changes would follow. A new peace regime will be established in Northeast Asia.”

In particular, the two leaders agreed that during the upcoming inter-Korean summit talks in Pyongyang from October 2 to 4, President Roh would deliver to North Korean leader Kim Jong Il the message that, “If North Korea faithfully implements denuclearization in a verifiable manner, President Bush will sign a peace treaty together with North Korean leader Kim, ending the Korean War.”

Korea Herald:

U.S. President George W. Bush yesterday indicated that Washington would be willing to offer a peace treaty to North Korea, depending on Kim Jong-il's dedication to abandoning his nuclear weapons programs.

"In our discussions, we said that when the North Korean leader fully discloses and dismantles his nuclear weapons programs, we can achieve a new security regime on the Korean peninsula, the peace we all long for," said Bush in a press briefing following an hour-long meeting with Roh.

Pressed - twice, through an interpreter - by Roh to clarify what a security regime signifies, Bush said "I can't make it any more clear. We look forward to the day when we end the Korean War. That will happen when Kim Jong-il verifiably gets rid of his weapons programs and his weapons."


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