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Bush: US Has No Intention of Invading North Korea - 2003-01-06

President Bush continues to defend his approach to dealing with the dispute over North Korea's nuclear program, reiterating he has no plans to invade and wants a diplomatic solution.

The president was finishing up a cabinet meeting when a reporter asked him about North Korea.

His answer was quick and brusque as he recalled his trip last year to South Korea. "I went to Korea and clearly said that the United States has no intention of invading North Korea. I said that right there in South Korea. And in Kim Jong Il's neighborhood, I spoke clearly and said 'we won't invade you'. And I'll repeat that: we have no intention of invading North Korea," Mr. Bush told reporters.

But in recent months tensions have risen over North Korea's decision to restart its nuclear program. Mr. Bush called on Pyongyang to abide by a 1994 deal with the United States to halt its nuclear activities.

"We expect North Korea to adhere to her obligations," he said. "She's in an agreement with the United States and said she would not develop nuclear weapons, and we expect people to keep their word."

Mr. Bush said he still believes a peaceful, diplomatic solution can be found. On Tuesday, the Bush administration will continue talks on the matter in Washington with South Korean and Japanese officials.