North Korea says it will not help terrorists acquire nuclear weapons. U.S. President George Bush says the United States would act to stop such a transfer if North Korea tries to export nuclear technology.
North Korean General Ri Chan Bok told the American television network ABC that his country's nuclear weapons are meant for self-defense, and are not to be sold for profit.
General Ri, who commands troops in the demilitarized zone with South Korea, says his country has no relations with terrorist organizations, and will not give nuclear weapons to terrorists or other countries.
In a separate interview with ABC, President Bush said he believes North Korean nuclear weapons are a destabilizing force in the region, and he will use all means necessary to hold Pyongyang to account, if it attempts to transfer that technology.
"If we get intelligence that they are about to transfer a nuclear weapon, we would stop the transfer. We would deal with the ships that were taking, or the airplane that was dealing with taking the material to somebody," he said.
In his interview with ABC, General Ri said North Koreans believe President Bush wants to humiliate them by making them kneel before him. The general says North Koreans cannot agree to that, and if the current situation continues, he says, war on the Korean peninsula is inevitable.
White House Spokesman Tony Snow says the region is not on the verge of war. He says President Bush has not engaged in personal insults against North Korean leader Kim Jung Il, and has no desire to humiliate the North Korean people.
"Not only do we not want North Korea to kneel down before them, what we are trying to do is offer them a better deal, better economy, more security, better relations with their neighbors, integration into the global community, as opposed to isolation. Pretty good deal," Snow said.
Snow says the White House appreciates the efforts of a Chinese delegation in Pyongyang.
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is also in the region working with allies to find the best way to implement U.N. Security Council sanctions against North Korea.
Pyongyang says it considers those sanctions an act of war. General Ri told ABC that sanctions must be lifted before there can be any progress in diplomatic efforts to resolve the standoff.