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Roh, Bush Discuss North Incentives

Posted November. 20, 2006 07:21,   


On November 18, South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun and his U.S. counterpart George W. Bush agreed that they would not recognize the North as a nuclear state, and said they would provide incentives, including economic aid and security guarantees to North Korea if Pyongyang dismantles its nuclear weapons’ programs.

The two reached this agreement at the summit held on the sidelines of the 18th round of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) conference in Hanoi, Vietnam.

They also exchanged their views with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at a tripartite summit meeting between Seoul, Washington, and Japan, and agreed that the three counties should fine-tune their strategies toward Pyongyang once the North scraps its nuclear facilities, presidential security aide Song Min-soon said.

Mr. Bush stated in a joint-briefing following the Roh-Bush dialogue that, “We want North Korea to hear that if it agrees to give up its nuclear weapons and nuclear weapons ambitions, we would be willing to enter into security arrangements with the North Koreans, as well as move forward on new economic incentives for the North Korean people.”

Korea and the U.S. have reportedly agreed to take corresponding measures if North Korea fully implements what was agreed on in the September 19 2005 Joint Statement, including return to the Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), permission for inspections by the international Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and the dismantlement of some nuclear facilities, including the 5MW nuclear reactor in Yongbyon. The corresponding measures will include supply of heavy oil and energy, including 2 million kilowatts of direct electricity supply, and normalization of relationship between the U.S. and North Korea.

While Washington and Tokyo want to step up disciplinary measures against Pyongyang after North Korea’s defiant nuclear test in October, Seoul is focusing on incentives toward North Korea to seek a breakthrough in the six-party talks. In this regard, the participating countries of the six-party talks will likely be split over incentives until the last minute before the upcoming resumption of the denuclearization talks.

Wrapping up the two-day summit meeting on November 19, the leaders adopted a chairman’s statement in oral form on North Korea’s nuclear tests to extend their strong concerns about Pyongyang’s nuclear threats and urged the early resumption of the six-party talks.