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North Korea Rejects Negotiations

The following is an editorial reflecting the views of the United States government:

The North Korean government has announced that it possesses nuclear weapons and is suspending its participation in talks with the United States, Russia, Japan, South Korea, and China. The talks were started with the hope of resolving the crisis over North Korea's nuclear weapons program. Following its announcement, North Korea demanded direct talks with the U.S.

The U.S. continues to work with Japan, the Republic of Korea, China, and Russia to bring North Korea back to serious discussions. White House spokesman Scott McClellan said that North Korea has had "ample opportunity" to speak directly to the U.S. in the context of the six-party talks. He said that the U.S. held direct talks with North Korea once before. This resulted in the 1994 Agreed Framework. Under the Agreed Framework, North Korea promised to stop work at its nuclear facilities and eventually to dismantle them in return for heavy fuel oil and two light-water nuclear reactors:

"North Korea violated that agreement and continued to pursue nuclear weapons...That's why we're working with all parties in the region to say to North Korea: You need to come back to the six-party talks; you need to permanently dismantle your nuclear weapons program; that's the way to realize better relations with the international community and end your isolation."

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice commented on the North Korean action:

"I know that we have support from the rest of the international community in saying to the North Koreans that they ought to take what is before them – a path to a more reasonable relationship, a path to a better life for their people, a path to security assurances from their neighbors, including the United States." President George W. Bush has said that the U.S. has no intention of invading or attacking North Korea. As Secretary of State Rice said, "They've been told they can have multilateral security assurances if they will make the important decision to give up their nuclear weapons program."