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President Bush Hints at Possibility of Formal Promise with N. Korea

President Bush Hints at Possibility of Formal Promise with N. Korea

Posted July. 22, 2003 21:43,   


Bush administration officials are considering granting North Korea formal guarantees it will not come under U.S. attack to resolve a standoff over Pyongyang`s nuclear ambitions, reported The Washington Post yesterday.

North Korea has long demanded that the United States sign a nonaggression pact, but it is highly unlikely such a treaty would be approved, said the newspaper.

Bush administration officials have said they will consider formalizing the verbal guarantees Mr. Bush has made that the United States will not attack the North without provocation, reported the New York Times.

U.S. officials have indicated to Asian allies they would open with discussion to deal with a "whole gamut" of issues between North Korea and United States, such as providing energy and food aid if the North Korean government meets a series of tough conditions, including progress on human rights, reported the Washington Post.

According to the Washington Post, in extensive talks last week with Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Dai Bingguo, administration officials asked him to inform North Korea that the United States would agree to meet again with Chinese and North Korean officials in Beijing, provided the session was followed almost immediately by multilateral talks that include South Korea, Japan and possibly Russia, U.S. officials said yesterday.

Monday, President Bush said that North Korea`s nuclear ambition would only isolate the regime, and he still believed that diplomat efforts could resolve the nuclear crisis over the Korean peninsula.

The softer stance on North Korea came out at a press conference held at Crawford ranch in Texas after a summit talks with the visiting Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

"We must continue to work with the neighborhood to convince [North Korean leader] Kim Jong-il that his decision [to develop nuclear weapons] is an unwise decision, and we will do just that," President Bush said yesterday.

But he added that it was not new that North Korea`s efforts to convince the world that it was in the process of developing nuclear weapons. He said that his administration knew it already.

On the other hand, State Department spokesperson Philip Ricker denied, during the briefing, the report of the New York Times that North Korea has a second secret nuclear facility.

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