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5/2/03 - POWELL ON NORTH KOREA TALKS - 2003-05-05

North Korea has ambiguously proposed ways to remove its nuclear capability and deal with its missile capability, but U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell commented that North Korea's proposal "is not going to take us in the right direction." He also said that the U.S. "will not be intimidated by their [North Korean] claims and threats."

The current crisis is the result of North Korea's admission last October that it had a covert program to enrich uranium for nuclear weapons. North Korea's quest for nuclear weapons violates its commitments under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and the North-South Denuclearization Agreement, among other agreements.

The U.S. has made it clear that it will not reward North Korea for these violations. Nor will the U.S. respond to intimidation or blackmail, as Secretary of State Powell said:

"North Korea must come to understand that we will not be threatened. We will not respond to threats. We [will] look for a way forward that will eliminate this threat and put North Korea on a path to a better future, a better future that will provide a better life for its people."

Secretary of State Powell stressed that the U.S. is not acting alone:

"The one thing we are also absolutely committed to is that there must be a multilateral solution to this problem. Nuclear weapons on the Korean peninsula are a threat to every neighbor in the region, and a threat to the region, and we believe a threat to us as well. And it is for that reason we have insisted that all of the nations in the region play a role."

One thing is clear: North Korea will have to terminate its nuclear weapons program.