SINGAPORE -- President Bush, his Pacific Rim tour approaching a politically charged climax in Japan this week, traveled to South Korea today for talks on trade problems plaguing U.S. relations with Seoul.
South Korean President Roh Tae Woo is expected to try to guide discussions away from his country's $720 million trade imbalance with the United States. Mr. Roh would much prefer to emphasize shared concerns over North Korea's nuclear bomb-building potential.
North and South Korea signed a non-aggression agreement Dec. 13 and Tuesday initialed a draft declaration banning nuclear weapons from the Korean peninsula.
But South Korean diplomats say that Mr. Roh needs full U.S. support for continued international pressure on Kim Il Sung's Pyongyang government to allow inspection of nuclear fuel reprocessing facilities that are believed capable of producing a bomb within a year.
South Korea is the last stop on Mr. Bush's tour before he reaches Tokyo. Yesterday, Mr. Bush softened his rhetoric toward Japan, saying he was encouraged by recent conciliatory comments by Japanese Prime Minister Kiichi Miyazawa and promises by Japanese automakers to use more U.S.-made parts.