The United States and South Korea are calling on North Korea to return to six-party talks with representatives of the U.S., South Korea, China, Japan, and Russia. The talks seek to bring the North Korean regime, led by Kim Jong-il, into compliance with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and end North Korea's nuclear weapons program. In return, the five parties have stated their willingness to help North Korea meet its domestic energy needs.
On a visit to Washington, D.C., where he met with President George W. Bush, South Korean President Roh Moo-Hyan (NO MOO HYUHN), offered this comment through an interpreter:
"We are at the working level of consulting very closely on this issue. . . .What is important to remember is that the fact that we are consulting closely on the North Korean nuclear issue and we are consulting on ways to re-start the six-party process, and I believe this is the important part."
President Bush says "First and foremost, the incentive for Kim Jong-il to understand [is that] there is a better way to improve the lives of his isolated people":
"Stability in the region is in his interests, the ultimate interests for the people of North Korea to be able to benefit and for families to be able to have food on the table."
Mr. Bush says that the North Korean dictator's refusal to come back to the six party talks has "strengthened an alliance of five nations that are determined to solve this issue peacefully":
"If he [Kim Jong-il] were to verifiably get rid of his weapons programs, there is clearly a better way forward. And that is the message we've been sending to the North Korean government through the six-party talks."
As President Bush has said, "Our goal and objective is to have a nuclear-free. . . .weapons-free Korean peninsula. Russia shares that objective. China shares the objective. Japan shares the objective, and South Korea shares the objective. We've got common ground to move forward."
The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.