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Bush: Kim's Nuclear Program Isolating N. Korea From Rest of World - 2003-07-21

President Bush said North Korean leader Kim Jong Il must realize that developing a nuclear arsenal will alienate him from the rest of world. Mr. Bush is urging neighboring countries to deliver that message loud and clear.

The president said he still believes there can be a diplomatic solution to the North Korean nuclear crisis.

He said China, South Korea and Japan must speak with one voice, and let Pyongyang know in no uncertain terms that pursuing nuclear weapons will only further isolate the North Korean people.

The president spoke during a joint news conference at his Texas ranch with Italian Prime Minister Silvio Belusconi. Mr. Bush was asked about reports North Korea may have built a second nuclear fuel processing plant.

He downplayed the story, saying Pyongyang has made no secret of its nuclear intentions. "The desire by the North Koreans to convince the world that they are in the process of building a nuclear arsenal is nothing new. We have known that for a while," Mr. Bush said.

Mr. Bush repeated his view that other countries in the region need to put more pressure on North Korea, and convince Pyongyang to resume negotiations. "We must continue to work with the neighborhood to convince Kim Jong Il that his decision is an unwise decision. And we will do just that," he said.

South Korean officials have expressed optimism that a meeting of the United States, North Korea and China will take place soon. But for its part, Pyongyang is continuing to insist on direct talks with Washington.