Remarks on the Departure of President Chun Doo Hwan of the Republic of Korea

February 2, 1981

President Reagan. Today we had a very warm and a very productive meeting with President Chun. Our meeting here today is a sign to all the people of Asia, as well as to the people of Korea, that the United States has a longstanding interest and enduring commitment to their part of the world.

I hope you'll understand that the United States will remain a reliable Pacific partner, and we shall maintain the strength of our forces in the Pacific area. I hope, too, that our Asian allies in Korea, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and our friends in the ASEAN know that they will have -- we'll have just as much alliance with them, and they will have our continued support as our European allies have.

Today at the luncheon, President Chun spoke of General MacArthur's wise admonition that we must never underestimate America's vital interests in the Pacific. So, it is my fervent hope in the years ahead that we can work together to make the great Pacific Basin a place of peace, prosperity, and stability for all who live there.

And we bid President Chun and Madame Chun goodby with a hope that their visit here will be as happy and successful as the visit that Nancy and I had some years ago in their country, a visit for which we are both grateful and deeply indebted to the Korean people.

President Chun. I am happy to be visiting in Washington at the kind invitation of His Excellency, the President of the United States, and Mrs. Reagan. I appreciated the opportunity I had this morning of exchanging views on matters of mutual interest with President Reagan in an atmosphere of warmth and mutual cordiality. I am happy to say that President Reagan gave me firm assurances that the United States has no intention of withdrawing the American forces in Korea. I am pleased that the present level of United States military presence in Korea will be maintained. This makes a vital and indispensable contribution toward not only peace in Korea but peace and tranquility of the Northeast Asia region.

In this great period of great renewal of America, I wish success and my best wishes to the Government of the United States and the country led and served by President Reagan.

Note: The President spoke at 1:50 p.m. at the South Portico of the White House. President Chun spoke in Korean, and his remarks were translated by an interpreter.