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Bush Discusses N. Korea, Iraq War with S. Korean President - 2003-04-04


President Bush telephoned South Korean leader Roh Moo-hyun Friday to discuss the war in Iraq and the crisis over North Korea's nuclear weapons program.

President Bush thanked the South Korean leader for help with humanitarian efforts in Iraq, where the country will soon provide medical and engineering units.

South Korea's opposition-led National Assembly this week approved President Roh's request for 700 non-combatant troops to join relief efforts in Iraq.

White House spokesman Ari Fleischer says Mr. Bush and Mr. Roh also discussed North Korea's nuclear weapons program, and "reiterated their intention" to "continue close consultations" to resolve the issue peacefully.

Washington wants a multilateral approach, in a joint diplomatic effort with South Korea, Japan, Russia, and China. Pyongyang wants direct talks with Washington, saying it fears a U.S. attack.

Last October, Washington said North Korea had admitted to having a secret program to enrich uranium. Since then, Pyongyang has reactivated a nuclear reactor, expelled United Nations nuclear inspectors, and renounced the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

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