The Roh-Bush Smackdown

The row (pun intended) between President Bush and South Korean President Roh last week in Sydney was about as publicly frosty as exchanges between the leaders of two allied countries can get. Richard Weitz has an analysis in our commentary section. Here’s the key excerpt from a State Department transcript of the exchange:

ROH: I think I might be wrong — I think I did not hear President Bush mention the — a declaration to end the Korean War just now. Did you say so, President Bush?

BUSH: I said it’s up to Kim Jong-il as to whether or not we’re able to sign a peace treaty to end the Korean War. He’s got to get rid of his weapons in a verifiable fashion. And we’re making progress toward that goal. It’s up to him.

ROH: I believe that they are the same thing, Mr. President. If you could be a little bit clearer in your message, I think —

BUSH: I can’t make it any more clear, Mr. President. We look forward to the day when we can end the Korean War. That will end — will happen when Kim Jong-il verifiably gets rid of his weapons programs and his weapons.

Thank you, sir.

Bush then walked out of the press conference.