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US Pushes for Strong Statement Urging North to Abandon Nuclear Program

US Pushes for Strong Statement Urging North to Abandon Nuclear Program

Posted October. 23, 2002 22:41,   


The United States is reportedly preparing a strong statement demanding that North Korea abandon its nuclear weapons program. The statement is expected to be announced at the APEC meeting, which will be held for two days starting Oct. 26th.

One official of George W. Bush administration confirmed in an Oct. 22nd interview with the AFP, "We cannot accept North`s project to develop nuclear weapons. It threatens the peace and stability of the region. It should be repealed. We will contain those ideas in a strong statement."

In the upcoming summit, President Bush is reported to have a series of meetings with President Kim Dae Jung of South Korea, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi of Japan and Russian President Putin. Through these meetings, President Bush will try to drum up the international support for having North scrap its nuclear program.

In the meanwhile, on Oct. 25th, President Bush plans to hold a summit with Chinese President Jiang Zemin at his ranch in Texas, which is the home state of Bush. At the summit, according to the diplomatic sources in Washington, D.C., Bush is expected to ask China to pressure North into giving up its nuclear weapons development. President Jiang arrived at Chicago on Oct. 22, and started his 4-day official schedule. The Bush administration has argued that North`s development of the nuclear weapons threatens the Mainland China itself. But, it is not sure how much influence China would exercise on North in this respect.

US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, in the Oct. 22nd briefing, repeated the US position that it intends to treat the North and iraq differently. President Bush defined North Korea and Iraq, along with a couple of other nations, the Axis of Evil.

When questioned what reactions the US government would take if North Korea extract plutonium, the key material for making a nuclear bomb, out of the stored uranium in Yongbyun, Rumsfeld just answered, "So far, there has been no evidence showing that North has tampered with the seal on the nuclear reactor. Also, there has been no indication that the possibility would come true in the near future."

Richard Boucher, the spokesman of the US State Department, also received a tricky question during a regular briefing held on the same day. One reporter asked whether North Korea`s admission of its nuclear weapons program affected the attitude of the Bush administration toward Kim Dae Jung`s Sunshine policy and Japan`s efforts to resume diplomatic relations with North. He just said, "No," and confirmed that there was no change in Bush administration`s position on the Sunshine policy.

Ki-Heung Han eligius@donga.com