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US Circulates Statement at UN Condemning North Korea's Nuclear Program


U.S. officials at the United Nations have circulated a draft statement condemning North Korea's revival of its nuclear program.

The draft text states that the Security Council condemns Pyongyang's breach of its international obligations under the nuclear Non-Proliferation treaty. It calls on North Korea to, quote, "immediately and completely dismantle its nuclear weapons program in a verifiable an irreversible manner."

The statement urges Pyongyang to comply with the U.N.'s International Atomic Energy Agency and to meet commitments not "to possess reprocessing and uranium enrichment facilities."

A spokesman for the U.S. mission to the United Nations says the text was distributed in an informal manner to permanent Security Council members Britain, China, France and Russia, who, along with the United States, hold veto power.

China and Russia have blocked previous U.S. efforts to condemn North Korea since its withdrawal from the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty earlier this year.

A so-called Presidential Statement becomes part of the official Security Council record but, unlike a resolution, it is not legally binding.

So far the Security Council has not scheduled any official meeting on the new U.S. statement.

North Korea has said that it would view any punitive measures by the Security Council as a declaration of war. North Korea is insisting on direct talks with Washington, while the Bush Administration wants to try to resolve the crisis multi-laterally with the countries in the region.

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