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Bush to Discuss North Korea on Sidelines of Asia-Pacific Summit


President Bush is consulting individually with the leaders of four countries involved in the six-party talks with North Korea. The discussions are taking place on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Vietnam.

North Korea is one Pacific Rim nation not attending this summit. But Pyongyang's nuclear ambitions are very much on the mind of the participants.

Almost all the bilateral talks on President Bush's schedule here in Hanoi are with leaders of other countries directly involved in multilateral negotiations with North Korea. They include South Korea, Japan, Russia and China.

All stand opposed to a nuclear-armed North Korea. But there are differences of opinion on the best way to convince Pyongyang to give up its nuclear weapons and weapons programs.

The United States wants full implementation of U.N. sanctions imposed on North Korea after its nuclear test in October. But South Korea favors a more cautious approach. President Bush says during talks Saturday, he will urge South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun to reconsider that position.

"I'll, of course, talk to the South Korean President about implementing the United Nations Security Council resolution," Mr. Bush said. "I'll talk to Vladimir Putin, Hu Jintao and Prime Minister Abe, as well."

And Mr. Bush indicates he is prepared to bring up North Korea's nuclear ambitions in the regular APEC summit sessions as well.

"The APEC is an important summit;" he noted, "it's an important opportunity to talk about the importance of free trade. But it's also important to give us a chance to talk about other issues."

During a brief session with reporters Friday, the president stressed the need for a diplomatic solution to the dispute over Pyongyang's nuclear ambitions. He said his goal is to create conditions under which the six-party talks can succeed.

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