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Text: Secretary of State Powell

Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2001

Following is a transcript of Secretary of State Colin Powell's Media Availability Following Meeting With South Korean Foreign Minister Han Seung Soo


POWELL: ... whatever agenda items to the table they wish to.

We remain strong supporters of the Sunshine policy and stand along side our Korean friends with respect to dialogue with the North.

I might also note that in the course of the morning I have spoken to Prime Minister Sharon and to Chairman Arafat and to Foreign Minister Peres over the developments in the Middle East over the last 12 hours. Chairman Arafat has issued some strong positive statements with respect to the situation in the region and the efforts he will be making to reduce--eliminate the violence.

And I'm pleased that Foreign Minister Peres and Prime Minister Sharon affirmed to me that they would be doing everything on their side to disengage from the opportunities for conflict with the Palestinians in specific towns and cities so as to have sort of a separation that might encourage a state of nonviolence.

And so this is an encouraging development and I hope that both sides can take advantage of this encouraging development and it will lead to additional meetings. We have also encouraged commanders on both sides to talk to one another and we're looking at the beginning of Security Committee dialogue once again.

So we have some promise this morning and let's hope that we can see some developments that will continue this sense of promise that is with us this morning.

Now I would like to present my colleague, Prime Minister Han.

HAN: Good morning.

First of all, I pray for the victims of the terrorist act last week and also wish to express my condolences to the families and loved ones of the victims.

HAN: We strongly condemn the heinous act of terrorism. And we know that the United States has a great tradition of rallying around the flag in times of crisis.

We, the Koreans, are with you in this hour of national distress and anguish. And we express our strong solidarity for the people and the government of the United States of America.

As a strong ally and in the spirit of the Korea-U.S. Mutual Defense Treaty, Korea will fully cooperate with the United States and will take part in the international coalition, you know, to support the United States in eradicating the crimes of terrorism.

Secretary Powell and I had a very good meeting this morning. I briefed him on the result of the recent South-North ministerial talks. As always, we have had a very productive meeting. Thank you.

POWELL: We have time for perhaps one or two questions.

QUESTION: Anything new from Afghanistan regarding the Pakistani initiative?

POWELL: No. I know that discussions are continuing. As you also noted from press reporting, the Taliban has convened a gathering of clerics to review the situation. But I don't have anything beyond that to report at this time.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, do you hope that Japan will play a more active role for this coalition than it did during the Gulf War?

POWELL: The Japanese government has been very forthcoming. And we've been appreciative of their words of support. I have been in touch with Foreign Minister Tanaka and received her words of support as well. We have not asked for anything specifically from the Japanese government. But as was the case some years ago in the Gulf War, I'm sure they will want to be supportive consistent with their capability and ability to be supportive.


QUESTION: Was there any more detail...

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) South Korean President Kim Dae-jung will support the United States. Can you tell us more detail about the content of President Kim Dae-jung's to support to the United States?

HAN: Well, the main message was that, as I said, Korea will fully cooperate with the United States, and we'll be very pleased to take part in the international coalition, you know, to support to United States in eradicating the acts of terrorism in the future.

© 2001 The Washington Post Company