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5/29/03 - ASIAN ALLIES AGREE ON NORTH KOREA - 2003-05-30

The U.S. and its key Asian allies will not tolerate North Korean development of nuclear weapons. At a meeting May 14th in Washington, President George W. Bush and South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun said they are committed to the elimination of North Korea's nuclear weapons program through peaceful means based on international cooperation. And at a May 23rd meeting in Texas with President Bush, Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi said that North Korea must promptly and completely dismantle its nuclear weapons development programs. Following the meeting, President Bush said that he and Prime Minister Koizumi “see the problem exactly the same way”:

“We will not tolerate nuclear weapons in North Korea. We will not settle for anything less than the complete, verifiable, and irreversible elimination of North Korea’s weapons program.”

While the people of North Korea starve, its Communist government continues to divert resources to produce weapons of mass destruction. This effort is in flagrant violation of its commitments under the 1994 Agreed Framework and the 1992 North-South Declaration on the Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. North Korea is already believed to have one or two nuclear weapons and could soon be able to produce several more. North Korea could make these weapons available to other countries or to terrorist groups.

President Bush said that the U.S. and Japan “stand shoulder-to-shoulder on [this] issue of North Korea’s Nuclear weaponry”:

“I believe that we can solve this peacefully. I believe that diplomacy can work. And as importantly, Japan and the United States will not be blackmailed by North Korean threats, and that’s important for the North Korean leadership to know.”

“This message,” said President Bush, “has been delivered.” The U.S., Japan, and others in the region are committed to seeing that the Korean peninsula is free of nuclear weapons.