SEOUL, South Korea (AP) Ñ President Bush pledged Wednesday to defend South Korea from the "despotic regime" to the north, yet sought to assure U.S. allies that he was not driving toward war. "We have no intention of invading North Korea," the president said.
In a joint news conference with South Korean President Kim Dae-jung, Bush endorsed his counterpart's "sunshine policy" of reaching out to North Korea and said the United States would be willing to open talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Il.
But he made clear that he has reservations about the regime he lumped in with Iran and Iraq as "an axis of evil."
After their talks, Bush and Kim were heading to the DMZ, a 2-mile-wide, 151-mile-long border strewn with mines and guarded by a total of nearly 2 million troops on the two sides. The United States has stationed 37,000 troops in South Korea.