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U.S. not ready to resume talks soon with P`yang on NK missile program

U.S. not ready to resume talks soon with P`yang on NK missile program

Posted March. 08, 2001 10:58,   


ROK-U.S. joint press statement in D.C.
[From NYT] Bush tells Seoul talks with North won`t resume now

President Kim Dae-Jung and U.S. President George Bush agreed early Thursday (Korean time) to continue and develop their traditional security alliance and maintain close cooperation in addressing a wide range of issues of mutual concern, including developing policy on North Korea, they said in a joint press release. In a summit at the White House, Kim and Bush had extensive discussions on the situation in the Korean Peninsula and Northeast Asia, developments in North Korea and the two countries` North Korea policies. Bush said he had some skepticism about the intentions of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il.

Following the meeting, Secretary of State Colin Powell said Washington was not yet ready to restart negotiations with Pyongyang on North Korea`s missile development program because President Bush still viewed North Korea as a threat. He further noted that the United States would retain a cautious approach to North Korea despite the ongoing rapprochement between the two Koreas and that Bush was well informed enough about the character of the North Korean regime that he would not be taken in. The U.S. administration is reviewing the state of American relations with North Korea, he said, and although some are calling for an immediate resumption of talks between Washington and Pyongyang, the time is not yet ripe.

During the post-summit press conference, President Bush gave a positive evaluation of President Kim`s leadership and voiced appreciation for his efforts to secure peace and promote improved inter-Korean relations. Bush told reporters in the Oval Office, with Kim at his side, that he had some skepticism about Kim Jong-Il and that any negotiations with North Korea would require complete verification to guarantee peace on the Korean Peninsula.

President Kim said he concurred with Bush on keeping up and strengthening the close cooperation between the two allies through the reinforcement of their bilateral alliance and effective coordination on North Korea policy to ensure peace and stability in the Korean Peninsula and bring an end to the Cold War. He also expressed the hope that President Bush would visit Seoul at an early date to boost the bonds of partnership between the two countries.

The two leaders reportedly discussed how to ascertain whether North Korea was developing nuclear weapons and ways of enforcing the Geneva framework accord of 1994 and inducing North Korea`s opening and reform. North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il`s proposed visit to Seoul was also on the agenda. Kim and Bush were reported to have agreed to hold full consultations on the U.S. plan for a national missile defense system within the framework of their bilateral alliance.

Im Chae-Chung cclim@donga.com