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Cheney Wraps Up Asian Tour - 2004-04-16


Vice President Cheney has wrapped up a week-long visit to Asia by praising South Korea for its efforts in helping rebuild Iraq and facing the nuclear threat from North Korea.

In farewell remarks in Seoul after talks with South Korean leaders today (Friday), Mr. Cheney said that Koreans have been, in his words, "steady in their determination to protect freedom."

Mr. Cheney's aides said the issue of North Korea's nuclear program topped the agenda during meetings with Prime Minister Goh Kun and Foreign Minister Ban Ki-Moon.

Other topics included the planned deployment of more than 3,000 South Korean troops to Iraq and the relocation further south of American troops based in South Korea.

Mr. Goh, who is South Korea's interim leader while President Roh Moo-Hyun awaits a court verdict on his impeachment last month, indicated there would be no shift in South Korea's foreign policy.

Mr. Cheney arrived in Seoul from China. Thursday he told students at Shanghai's Fudan University that North Korea might give its nuclear weapons technology to terrorist groups like al-Qaida. He added that failure to contain Pyongyang's nuclear weapons program could trigger a region-wide arms race.

The Vice President was scheduled to visit with American troops in South Korea, before returning to Washington.

Information for this report is provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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