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US: Future Relations With N. Korea Depend on Dismantling Nuclear Program


The White House says the future of relations with North Korea depends on the verifiable dismantling of its nuclear program. U.S., North Korean and Chinese officials ended three days of talks in Beijing Friday.

White House spokesman Ari Fleischer says U.S. officials told North Korea that the future of its ties with the rest of the world depends on it "verifiably and irreversibly" dismantling its nuclear weapons program.

At the end of three days of talks in Beijing, North Korea says it offered a bold new proposal to resolve the issue, but did not say what that proposal was.

Mr. Fleischer says it was useful to have those preliminary discussions, but he repeated the administration's frustration with what President Bush calls "the old blackmail game."

Mr. Fleischer says North Korea believes "bad behavior" will be rewarded with economic assistance. Pyongyang has a "rather unique way of having discussions", Mr. Fleischer says. "Bluster is part of their vocabulary."

He stressed the significance of China's role in this week's talks, saying Beijing, like Washington, opposes nuclear weapons on the Korean peninsula. Mr. Fleischer says North Korea's admission that it has those weapons is contrary to what China says it supports. That is "notable and important," he says, as China has "an important stake in this."

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