Accessibility links

U.S. Offers Aid to North Korea, With Conditions - 2003-01-15

If North Korea will abandon its nuclear weapons program, the United States may consider reviving a plan to give that country food and energy aid. This Tuesday from U. S. President George W. Bush, who said he expects the North Korean dispute to be resolved peacefully.

Speaking in the oval office with Polish President Alexander Kwasniewski, President Bush was hopeful tensions would ease.

“But what this nation won’t do is be blackmailed. And what this nation will do is, use this as an opportunity to bring the Chinese and the Russians and the South Koreans and the Japanese to the table to solve this problem peacefully.”

The president feels there is an opportunity for other nations to make it clear to North Korea it should disarm. Mr. Bush told reporters he was ready last year to offer North Korea this initiative.

“We expect them not to develop nuclear weapons. And if they so choose to do so – their choice – then I will reconsider whether or not we’ll start the bold initiative that I’ve talked to Secretary Powell about.”

U. N. Secretary General Kofi Annan sent his own envoy, Maurice Strong, to North Korea Tuesday. He expressed grave concern over North Korea’s withdrawal from the nuclear nonproliferation treaty.

“North Korea’s the first country to ever withdraw from the treaty and I hope they will come back into compliance The atomic agency board has met to discuss it, and they have given them a bit more time to come into compliance before they decide what the next step should be, including bringing it to the council.”

In other developments, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State, James Kelly, arrived in Beijing Tuesday night for talks on security issues relating to North Korea. Secretary Kelly is expected to meet with Chinese officials Wednesday. This meeting follows a meeting in Seoul on Tuesday.

China said Tuesday it is willing to host talks between the United States and North Korea. As one of North Korea’s few allies, China would have a unique perspective on the dispute between the U.S.. and North Korea.

North Korea announced in October it was re-starting a nuclear facility it shut down in 1994. Pyongyang withdrew from the nuclear nonproliferation treaty last week and has also threatened to resume testing missiles.