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North Korea's Defiance Prompts Meeting in U.S. - 2003-01-08

North Korea’s continued resistance to ending its nuclear program prompted meetings between the U.S., South Korea and Japan in Washington Tuesday. The tri-lateral coordination and oversight group or TCOG met for the second time to discuss ways to defuse the North Korean problem. U.S. State Department spokesperson Richard Boucher read part of the joint statement.

“They stressed that North Korea’s relations with the entire international community hinge on its taking prompt and verifiable action to completely dismantle its nuclear weapons program.”

The statement echoes U.S. President George W. Bush’s previous assurance that the U.S. wants a peaceful ending to this conflict and will not invade North Korea. But the U.S. and its allies urge the communist country to drop its nuclear program to avoid consequences.

U.S. PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH “We have no intention of invading North Korea. We expect North Korea to adhere to her obligations. She’s in an agreement with the United States and said that she would not develop nuclear weapons, and we expect people to keep their word.”

NARRATOR China is also among the countries urging North Korea to drop its nuclear program. In December, Pyongyang announced it was restarting its nuclear plant in Yongbyon and soon after expelled the United Nations inspectors there. Now, the International Atomic Energy Agency is demanding an immediate reinstatement of the inspectors or it will turn the matter over to the U.N. Security Council for action.