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U.S. Opposes North Korean Nuclear Weapons Development - 2003-04-25


The White House tells North Korea that the future of Pyongyang’s ties with the rest of the world depends on it "verifiably and irreversibly" dismantling its nuclear weapons program. This, after the United States, North Korea and China end 3 days of talks in Beijing, with no signs of progress in easing the crisis over Pyongyang’s nuclear program. No date has been set for any future talks. Brian Purchia has more.

Just after the talks ended, the Chief U.S. delegate, Assistant Secretary of State, James Kelly was tight-lipped about the meeting.

JAMES KELLY, U.S. ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE
"A good visit to Beijing, thank you."

But Friday more reaction from White House Spokesman, Ari Fleischer.

ARI FLEISCHER, WHITE HOUSE SPOKESMAN
“Our view is that North Korea has taken actions that continue to isolate North Korea and continue to invite upon North Korea international disagreeement.”

A senior State Department official told VOA the United States was not disappointed with the Beijing talks. He also said Washington was pleased with China's role in bringing the sides together. China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman, Liu Jianchao said the talks ended with a handshake and a promise to continue diplomacy.

CHINESE FOREIGN MINISTRY SPOKESMAN, LIU JIANCHAO
“The pressing task is for all the parties to stick to settling the issue through peaceful negotiations by starting from the overall interests of peace and stability and non-nuclearization on the Korean peninsula."

Friday's talks in Beijing came one day after North Korea reportedly admitted that it has nuclear weapons. President Bush described North Korea's admission as in his words, “the old blackmail game." There was this assessment from International Relations Professor Lee Chung-Min at Yonsei University in South Korea.

LEE CHUNG-MIN, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS PROFESSOR, YONSEI UNIVERSITY
“North Korea by declaring she has nuclear weapons is testing the resolve of the Bush administration right after the end of the Iraqi war. So I believe that North Korea is on the brink of breaking out of its nuclear isolation."

Assistant Secretary of State Kelly met in Seoul with South Korean Foreign Minister Yoon Young-kwan (YOON YUHNG KWAHN) Friday. Mr. Yoon said that if North Korea does have nuclear weapons, it would pose a major threat to peace in the region.

Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell and his Japanese counterpart, Yoriko Kawaguchi (YO-REE-KO KAH-WAH-GOO-CHEE). agreed in a telephone call to work against North Korea's possession of nuclear arms.

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