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President Bush Calls on North Korea  to Meet with US Representatives - 2001-10-19


President Bush is again calling on North Korean leader Kim Jong Il to meet with U.S. representatives. Mr. Bush is also stressing his support for efforts by South Korean President Kim Dae-jung to reach out to North Korea. Fighting terrorism was the main topic when the Presidents of the United States and South Korea met in Shanghai on the eve of the Asia-Pacific summit.

But President Bush told reporters he also wanted to talk about the overall situation on the Korean Peninsula.

During a brief question and answer session at the start of the talks, Mr. Bush noted that both the American and South Korean governments have offered to meet with Kim Jong Il. "I would hope he would accept not only our invitation, but seize an opportunity to bring more peaceful relations to the Korean Peninsula. He has an opportunity to lead," Bush said.

Echoing comments he made a few days ago during a session with Asian journalists, President Bush said the North Korean leader needs to send a signal that he wants peace. "I would hope he would show the world that he's interested in peace and interested in improving the lives of the citizens who live in North Korea," Bush said.

As cameras snapped pictures and reporters shouted questions, the South Korean President sat calmly at the side of Mr. Bush. His comments dealt solely with the global effort to combat terrorism. Kim Dae-Jong said his country will do all it can to help the cause. He said no country on earth is safe from terrorism, and nations must work together to combat the terrorist threat.

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