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Former U.S.  President George W. Bush says multilateral diplomacy is the key to resolving the standoff over North Korea's nuclear program.

During a speech in Seoul, South Korea Wednesday, Mr. Bush said the six-nation talks are "the best way to bring peace to the Korean peninsula."

The United States, China, Japan, Russia and South Korea have been negotiating with North Korea since 2003 to convince the communist regime to abandon its nuclear weapons program in exchange for economic aid. 

North Korea pulled out of the six-nation talks in April after the international community criticized its launch of a rocket that other nations suspect was a test of long-range missile technology.

The former U.S. president warned that North Korean leader Kim Jong-il will undoubtedly "test the system" to find some kind of weakness and use it for his advantage.

Kim recently told Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao his country is willing to return to the talks if the U.S. is willing to engage in bilateral talks.

Washington says it will agree to bilateral talks within the framework of the six-party talks.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.