Presidential Radio Address - 21 November 1998

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Good morning. Today I'm speaking to you from Korea. From the time our administration took office in 1993, we have believed it is vital to the future of the United States to look not only to the west but also, as a Pacific power, to the east. First in Tokyo, and now here in Seoul, I have reaffirmed America's commitment to our alliances with Japan and Korea and our resolve to build a safer, better world with our Asian allies.

My confidence that such a world is within our grasp springs in no small measure from my faith in the strength and skill of a remarkable group of Americans, the men and women who serve in our Armed Forces.

Last week, when Saddam Hussein agreed to let international weapons inspectors return to Iraq, he backed down because we backed our diplomacy with force. In Bosnia, where the peace brokered at Dayton is taking hold, American troops are helping to preserve stability. And here on the Korean Peninsula, the last fault line of the cold war, nearly 40,000 Americans are helping Korea defend its freedom.

Tomorrow I'll visit with U.S. troops and their Korean counterparts at the Osan and Yongsan Air Force Bases and the Korea Training Center. I always welcome the opportunity to meet with America's service men and women stationed overseas, especially around holiday time.

Back in Washington, we're working hard to make sure our forces have the resources they need to remain the best in the world. Every time we face a challenge, our Armed Forces deliver for America. It is imperative that we deliver for them by giving our military the support they need and deserve, from cutting-edge technology to the most basic parts, from the best training in the world to a good quality of life.

On Veterans Day I was pleased to release $1.1 billion in readiness funding authorized by Congress. With the support of Congress, we've also obtained nearly $2 billion to support peacekeeping and shifted another billion dollars within the Defense budget for additional readiness. Now, this money will help to ensure that we preserve a high state of readiness for our forward-deployed and first-to-fight forces, while we continue to fund other important initiatives such as quality of life, recruiting, and pay raises. And we can't rest there. We must also plan for tomorrow's challenges as well as today's. That's why I've ordered a thorough review of our long-term readiness. It will generate budget and policy proposals to preserve readiness, to support our troops, to modernize our equipment well into the next century.

Next week Americans at home and around the world will give thanks for the countless blessings we enjoy today. I'd like to offer particular thanks to those of you serving our country overseas. Thanksgiving week is also Military Family Week. We must never forget that for every individual stationed abroad, an entire family is also serving our country.

On Thanksgiving I will be back in the United States. Like thousands of Americans, I will offer a prayer of gratitude for our troops at home and overseas and their indispensable contribution to freedom. Even when you are far from home, you are close to our hearts.

And especially here in Korea, let me thank our troops. I'm honored to be here representing the United States on a mission of peace and prosperity, with a strong congressional delegation representing many parts of our country. We all wish you the very best. And again, we thank you for your service to America.

Thanks for listening.

This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work of the United States federal government (see 17 U.S.C. 105).