Bush Condemns 'Brutal' South Korean's Murder in Iraq
By Gene Harper
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Jun. 22, 2004 President Bush said he believes South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun understands the Free World can't "be intimidated by the brutal action of these barbaric people" who murdered a South Korean contractor in Iraq today.
News reports said the South Korean Foreign Ministry confirmed the body of Kim Sun-il was found between Baghdad and Fallujah. An Iraqi militant group kidnapped Kim on June 17.
"What they're trying to do is to shake our will and confidence," Bush said about the Iraqi militants after a White House meeting with Hungarian Prime Minister Peter Medgyessy. "They're trying to get us to withdraw from the world so that they can impose their dark vision on people.
"In order to impose their vision, they want us to leave. They want us to cower in the face of their brutal killings," the president noted. He vowed "the United States will not be intimidated by these people, because we believe strongly in freedom and liberty and human rights and human dignity. And I believe President Roh understands that."
The South Korean government had rejected the abductors' earlier demands that it pull its troops out of Iraq to spare Kim's life.
In his meeting with Hungary's Medgyessy, Bush also extended condolences to the family of a Hungarian soldier killed June 17 in Iraq. "I want his folks to know that we will complete our task, and the world will be more peaceful and more free because Iraq will be free and peaceful," Bush said.
He called Medgyessy "a strong leader for Hungary" and "a strong visionary" for the United States and for free and peaceful societies.
"The death of the Hungarian soldier is very painful to all of us," Medgyessy said. "Nevertheless, I could confirm to the president that Hungary's commitment to the presence in Iraq is unchanged." He said his country would continue to "promote stabilization" and that Hungarian troops would remain.
"What's important for the Iraqis to know," Bush said, "is that the world stands with them as a free society emerges." He called Hungary a "great example" of what's possible in a free society that has "rejected totalitarianism and has now welcomed democracy and rule of law and human rights and human dignity."
"It helps to have troops fulfill certain missions as we help rebuild Iraq," Bush said. It's more than just a symbol. These troops are providing a very important role as Iraq emerges from a society run and brutalized by a tyrant to a society in which people are able to realize their hopes and aspirations."