President George W. Bush has sent a letter to North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il. The North Koreans provided a verbal response through their U-N mission in New York. In his letter, President Bush urged Kim Jong-Il to fully disclose North Korea's nuclear programs:
"You know, I got his attention with a letter, and he can get my attention by fully disclosing his programs, including any plutonium he may have processed and converted -- into whatever he's used it for; we just need to know. As well, he can get our attention by fully disclosing his proliferation activities."
The Six-Party talks have been underway since 2003. In a September 2005 joint statement, North Korea pledged to get rid of its nuclear weapons and nuclear weapons programs. In July of this year, North Korea shut down and sealed its nuclear reactors and related facilities at Yongbyon and Taechon.
In exchange for North Korea’s living up to its pledge to shut down its nuclear reactors this fall, the United States, South Korea, Russia, and China have begun providing North Korea with economic and energy assistance up to the equivalent of one million tons of heavy fuel oil.
As part of the next phase to implement the 2005 agreement, the North Korean government is supposed to provide a complete declaration of all of its nuclear programs and disable the Yongbyon nuclear facility by December 31st.
Within the Six-Party framework, the United States and North Korea have also started talks aimed at resolving bilateral issues and moving toward full diplomatic relations. As part of the agreement, said President Bush, the United States, China, Russia, Japan, and South Korea made commitments to North Korea. "We will meet those commitments as this agreement is honored," said Mr. Bush. "Those commitments include economic, humanitarian, and energy assistance to the people of North Korea."
But as White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said, it is up to the North Korean leadership to provide a complete and correct declaration. "What the president told Kim Jong-Il and the other members of the Six-Party talks," she said, "is that we are at a critical juncture and this is when the declaration is due, and that is why he sent the letter."