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Bush: US Has No Intention of Invading North Korea - 2003-10-19


U.S. President George Bush says the United States has no intention of invading North Korea, but he is again rejecting Pyongyang's demands for a non-aggression pact. Mr. Bush is in Thailand, where he is discussing ways to assuage North Korean concerns about a possible U.S. attack, without making those promises part of a formal treaty.

President Bush is repeating his long-standing promise not to invade North Korea, but says he will not agree to a non-aggression treaty.

"We will not have a treaty, if that's what you are asking. That's off the table. Perhaps there are other ways we can say exactly what I have said publicly, on paper, with our partners' consent," Mr. Bush said.

Following talks with Chinese President Hu Jintao, Mr. Bush said they discussed ways to meet their mutual goal of establishing a nuclear weapons-free Korean peninsula, as well as addressing North Korean security concerns, within the context of six-nation talks.

President Hu said he will work to continue to strengthen and promote those talks, joining China and the United States with North Korea, South Korea, Russia and Japan.

Senior administration officials say President Bush last week decided to present the Chinese leader with a framework for convincing North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons program, while meeting Pyongyang's desire for security guarantees, short of a formal treaty requiring U.S. congressional approval.

Senior administration officials have said past bi-lateral agreements between Pyongyang and Washington were too easily broken. North Korea violated a 1994 accord it signed with the Clinton administration that delivered fuel, in exchange for promises that North Korea would not develop nuclear weapons.

Bush administration officials believe it would be harder for North Korea to violate a multi-lateral agreement, because it would be breaking its word not only with, Washington but with Seoul, Beijing, Moscow and Tokyo, as well.

North Korea said it is not interested in new six-party talks, unless President Bush agrees to discuss a formal non-aggression treaty. North Korea's state-run newspaper Sunday called the regional economic summit underway in Bangkok the wrong place to discuss the country's nuclear weapons program, saying that is an issue to be resolved between North Korea and the United States.

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