Remarks on Departure for Japan and the Republic of Korea

November 8, 1983

Well, we thank you very much. Goodness, who's tending store? [Laughter]

Well, in a few moments, as you know, Nancy and I will be aboard Marine One to begin the first leg of our trip to Japan and Korea. We've looked forward for a long time to visting both countries and, I can say, visiting them again. We make this journey as ambassadors for peace and prosperity between the citizens of our two lands -- or three lands.

We'll travel a great distance, but I know we'll meet with many good friends and people who feel close to America and to our people. Our country is a Pacific nation -- and I mean ``Pacific'' in the terms of an ocean, not just peaceful -- and this trip will spotlight the great importance that we place on our ties with Northeast Asia and the Pacific Basin.

Our three countries share treasures of a rich and varied past. As freedom-loving people, we also share a great dream. Japan, Korea, and America are the nations of the future. We're builders of tomorrow and working as partners to make tomorrow better and more secure. We can do this because Korea, for one, ranks among our top 10 partners in trade worldwide. Japan, of course, is our top partner, economically.

Our Pacific trade has exceeded our trade with Europe during the eighties. This dynamic growth points to the importance of our economic relations, particularly in trade and financial matters with both countries. Four out of five new manufacturing jobs created in the last 5 years were in export-related industries. We still work hard, and will, to foster a new era of equality and economic cooperation in our bilateral relations.

The Soviet shooting down of KAL 007, their continued military buildup in Asia, including the development of the SS - 20 missiles there, are grim reminders to us that we live in a dangerous world. I will reaffirm America's commitment to remain a reliable partner for peace and stability in the region and in the world.

Now, in both Tokyo and Seoul, we will look for ways to make the region even more stable and secure. Like all good things, partnerships require a willingness to listen and to work hard and to compromise. And that's the spirit of our trip. I'm confident that our bonds of friendship will be strengthened in the next few days.

As we reach out to each other, we'll also be reaching out to the rest of the world. Closer relations in the Pacific make for more prosperous conditions worldwide. And the increasing global responsibilities being undertaken by both Japan and Korea are very positive developments for those who cherish peace and seek economic progress and human freedom. I believe we'll grow closer and grow together if we keep our eyes fixed on our community of interests and shared values.

Faith, freedom, and equality of opportunity will inspire us. Economic growth will reward us, and free and fair trade will enhance us. And through peace -- or peace through strength will sustain us.

Again, we welcome this opportunity to get to show the good people of Japan and Korea that we want to know them better. And we're most thankful that we'll be able to spend some time on our trip also with our service men and women over there.

Now, I thank you all very much for coming to see Nancy and me off. And because some of you have suggested that you're doing this, thank you for your prayers, and you'll be in our thoughts and very close to our hearts. And now there isn't anything left to say but goodby, and God bless you.

Note: The President spoke at 7:30 a.m. in the East Room at the White House to administration officials and members of the White House staff.