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United On North Korea

The United States and others are working to confirm North Korea's claim that it has detonated a nuclear device. "But," says President George W. Bush, "this claim, itself, constitutes a threat to international peace and stability":

"In response to North Korea's actions, we're working with our partners in the region and the United Nations Security Council to ensure there are serious repercussions for the regime in Pyongyang."

Mr. Bush says that he's spoken with world leaders including those from Japan, China, South Korea and Russia. These countries participated, along with the U.S., in six-party talks with North Korea.

"We all agree that there must be a strong [United Nations] Security Council resolution that will require North Korea to abide by its international commitments to dismantle its nuclear programs. This resolution should also specify a series of measures to prevent North Korea from exporting nuclear or missile technologies, and prevent financial transactions or asset transfers that would help North Korea develop its nuclear and missile capabilities."

After six-party talks in September 2005, a joint statement offered North Korea the prospect of normalizing relations with both Japan and the U.S. The regime was also offered security provision and economic and energy assistance. In return, North Korea committed itself to abandoning all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs and returning, at an early date, to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and to IAEA safeguards. But "North Korea has once against chosen to reject the prospect for a better future offered by the six-party statement, says Mr. Bush. "Instead," he says, "it has opted to raise tensions in the region":

"I'm pleased that the nations in the region are making clear to North Korea what is at stake. I thank China, South Korea, Japan, and Russia for their strong statements of condemnation of North Korea's actions."

Mr. Bush says "Our goals remain clear: peace and security in Northeast Asia and a nuclear-free Korean peninsula." The U.S. he says "will take the necessary actions to achieve these goals. We will work with the United Nations. We'll support our allies in the region. And together," he said, "we will ensure that North Korea understands the consequences if it continues down its current path."

The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.