SEOUL, South Korea (AP) -- Facing protests in Seoul's streets and a combative new message from North Korea, President Bush on Tuesday opened a two-day visit to South Korea that will take him to the dividing line between what he has called good and evil.
The president, whose provocative labeling of North Korea as part of an "axis of evil" has stirred Asian unease, arrived here with first lady Laura Bush from Tokyo.
Landing on a tightly secured U.S. military base in downtown Seoul, Bush saw none of the anti-American protests that have marred the run-up to his first visit to Korea. He indulged cheering U.S. military families with handshakes and autographs.
On the streets of Seoul itself, police in riot gear stood watch over Koreans who went about their routine with barely a passing glance at Bush's motorcade.
In a speech earlier Tuesday to the Japanese Diet, Bush toned down talk that many in the region have perceived as troublesome saber-rattling and spoke of "a fellowship of free Pacific nations."
He is expected to continue the somewhat muted tone on Wednesday when he rallies U.S. troops patrolling the hostile and heavily armored Demilitarized Zone dividing Koreans into communist North and democratic South.
A nearly final draft of the president's speech does not contain the words "axis of evil," president counselor Karen Hughes said.
Still, North Korea's Radio Pyongyang continued to hold up the phrase as evidence the United States is trying to incite war.
"If the U.S. imperialists and Japanese reactionaries should provoke the second Korean War, to the end, our military and people will attack them with 100 times to 1,000 times of revenge," the state-controlled Radio Pyongyang said in a commentary monitored by the Radiopress agency in Tokyo.
The president was bringing to the DMZ an unclassified satellite photo of visible light on the Korean peninsula, showing the highly developed South awash in blots of light and only two or three pinpricks of white in the North, the largest in the Pyongyang capital.
Bush sees the photo as proof of the "light and opportunity that comes with freedom and the dark that comes with a regime that's repressive and holds its own people back," Hughes said.
She denied that the omission of "axis of evil" from his speech is any kind of sign Bush was backing off his hard line and said that, as he stands just yards from the border, Bush will forcefully reiterate his contention that North Korea is one of the world's most dangerous and repressive regimes.
Without mentioning North Korea or the weapons trafficking there that has drawn his ire, Bush earlier assured the Japanese Diet he seeks an Asia "where military force is not used to resolve political disputes."
"We seek a peaceful region where the proliferation of missiles and weapons of mass destruction do not threaten humanity," Bush said.
On the eve of what promised to be a dramatic visit to the hostile and heavily armored zone, Bush added:
"We seek a region in which demilitarized zones and missile batteries no longer separate people with a common heritage and a common future."
His speech in the wood-paneled chamber of the Diet's upper house, where the wooden dais and massive semicircle of desks so closely resembles America's own House of Representatives, evoked images of Bush's State of the Union address last month, in which he condemned North Korea as an "axis of evil" together with Iran and Iraq.
That label, so antithetical to South Korea's "sunshine policy" of engaging the North, sent hundreds of anti-U.S. protesters into the streets of Seoul days before Bush's visit. About 60 demonstrators clashed with police outside the base where Bush arrived Tuesday.
"Bush is a war maniac and an international hooligan," some chanted over the weekend.
Bush's earlier, more aggressive talk of evil in the North has heightened anxiety in the government of South Korea's Kim Dae-jung, which has staked its legacy on nearly five years of trying to entice North Korean leader Kim Jong Il into serious peace talks.
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