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US Has No Plans to Use Force Against N. Korea, Says Powell - 2002-11-10

Senior U.S. officials are reaffirming that the United States is relying on international pressure to convince North Korea to end its nuclear weapons development program. In a series of television interviews, the officials emphasized the Bush administration has no plans to use military force.

Secretary of State Colin Powell said the focus remains on diplomacy. "We are not threatening military force because we do not need to threaten military force right now," Mr. Powell said.

He told CNN's Late Edition program the United States would continue to work with other countries to put maximum pressure on Pyongyang. "We have been very successful in bringing the Japanese, the Chinese, and I would say, the Russians also, and the South Koreans together on the strategy. So the North Koreans now know that as long as they are participating in this kind of activity, enriching uranium, they are not going to be able to solve their economic problems and problems of poverty," Mr. Powell said.

In 1994, North Korea promised to halt its nuclear weapons program in exchange for western energy aid, including shipments of fuel oil.

Last month, the Bush administration said North Korea had acknowledged running a secret program to enrich uranium in violation of that pledge.

There have been calls for an aid cut off. White House National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice was asked about the status of aid shipments during an interview on the Fox News Sunday program. "The North Koreans should understand it is not going to be business as usual as we move forward here," she said.

But she refused to say if the shipments would be suspended, saying that is a matter for all the countries involved to decide.