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Rice: U.S. Not Ready to Strengthen Ties with N. Korea

Posted December. 14, 2007 03:13,   


U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Wednesday that the United States is not prepared to broaden its ties with North Korea until the reclusive regime dismantles its nuclear programs.

In an interview with the Associated Press in her State Department office, Rice said that Iran and North Korea have a long way to go before being removed from the Bush administration’s list of nuclear outlaws.

When asked if the Bush administration still considers North Korea and Iran as the members of an “axis of evil,” she said, "They are clearly still states about which there are significant proliferation concerns. It would be very irresponsible not to deal with those dangers."

Regarding the New York Philharmonic’s concert in Pyongyang in next February and the recent delivery of George W. Bush’s personal letter to North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, Rice said that both incidents do not signify that the U.S. has softened its determination to tackle North Korean problems. Rice said, “What matters first and foremost is that we deal with the nuclear weapons programs.” Meanwhile, with regard to Bush`s letter, she added that it was simply part of the active diplomacy program under way to resolve the North Korean nuclear problem.