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US: North Korea Has No Choice But to Return to Talks


U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says the United Nations resolution against North Korea leaves Pyongyang no choice but to return to the negotiating table. VOA White House Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, North Korea's foreign ministry has rejected that resolution as a product of American hostility.

Secretary Rice says the unanimous U.N. resolution against North Korea is remarkable, in part, for its endorsement by China.

"Here we have an affirmative Chinese vote, not an abstention, an affirmative Chinese vote on a resolution that demands that North Korea cease its activities that are jeopardizing international peace and security, that demands that North Korea find a way back to the negotiating table," she said.

China had opposed an earlier draft referring to Chapter Seven of the U.N. Charter which would have required mandatory sanctions or military force if North Korea violates the resolution.

That language was dropped from the final text after China threatened to veto the measure.

Chinese support for any action against North Korea is seen as vital because China is one of the few countries with any real influence over Pyongyang.

Rice told reporters traveling with President Bush at the G8 summit in Russia that Washington's rejection of bilateral negotiations with Pyongyang has paid off. By pursuing six-party talks with North Korea's neighbors instead, she says Pyongyang now faces a strong coalition united behind a unanimous resolution.

"Ultimately, North Korea will have no choice but to return to the talks and pursue denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula," she said.

North Korea's foreign ministry has rejected the resolution which demands that U.N. member states refrain from selling missile or weapons of mass destruction technology to North Korea or buying such technology from Pyongyang.

A foreign ministry statement dismissed the resolution as a product of hostile U.S. policy toward North Korea and said Pyongyang would boost what it called its war deterrent for self-defense. The statement says the situation has now reached the worst phase.

Rice says she is not surprised that North Korea has rejected the resolution. Korean officials, she said, tend to be rejectionists. But she added North Korea will have to return to the six-party talks if it does not want to face further isolation.