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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Bush Eyes Dialogue Not War With Korea

WASHINGTON -- Fighting nuclear proliferation on two fronts, U.S. President George W. Bush's administration said Sunday that military action -- like that being contemplated against Iraq -- would not remedy North Korea's violation of a U.S. agreement to dismantle its weapons program.

Whether through force or diplomacy, the U.S. goal is to eliminate both countries' weapons programs, said leading White House foreign policy advisers.

"We're not going to have a cookie cutter for foreign policy, where we try to apply the same formula to every case. It would be foolhardy to do that," said national security adviser Condoleezza Rice on CNN's "Late Edition."

Kim Yong Nam, North Korea's ceremonial head of state, said early Monday, "We consider the recent situation seriously.

"If the United States is willing to withdraw its hostile policy toward the North, the North also is ready to resolve security concerns through dialogue," Kim told South Korean delegate Jeong Se-hyun during a meeting in Pyongyang.

Secretary of State Colin Powell stressed the need of working with the leaders of Russia, China, Japan, South Korea and others in the region to deter North Korea's nuclear ambitions.

North Korea has chemical weapons and a rudimentary biological weapons program, and the United States says the North Korean officials admitted this month the country is enriching uranium to make nuclear weapons in violation of a 1994 agreement.

Rice and Powell said the administration is considering how to force North Korea to abandon its program, but there is no plan so far for an invasion.

Powell said the administration considers the 1994 agreement, signed eight years ago Monday, effectively dead.

"When you have an agreement between two parties, and one says it's nullified, then it's hard to see what you do with such an agreement," Powell said on NBC's "Meet the Press."

As part of the accord, Washington agreed to head a consortium to provide North Korea with two atomic reactors to replace its existing nuclear reactors, which could yield more bomb-grade plutonium. Japan and South Korea were to pay most of the $4 billion bill.

A senior White House official said that, considering North Korea's admission, it was unlikely the power plants will be completed. North Korea said the consortium's failure to meet a 2003 deadline was why it nullified the pact.

Powell said Bush will consult with the leaders of South Korea, Japan and China at a summit of Pacific Rim leaders in Mexico this week about whether to halt a provision of the agreement under which the United States supplies North Korea up to 500,000 tons of oil per year to help meet the country's energy needs until the reactors come on line.

Despite the consultations, the White House official said, the decision to suspend the shipments is nearly final.

U.S. officials said there were aspects of the agreement that the administration wants to preserve.

"We're looking at all of the things that rest on the agreed framework, to see what is in our interest to keep doing, what is in our interest not to keep doing," Powell said.

He mentioned plutonium stored at a facility in Yongbyon that is monitoring by the International Atomic Energy Agency and Energy Department workers. "We don't want to see that suddenly become unwatched," Powell said. "So, we have to be very careful and move with a certain deliberateness."

Powell said it was essential for North Korea's neighbors and other countries "to put maximum pressure on North Korea to make the point to them that this is totally inconsistent with trying to improve the lives of your people."

He said North Korean leader Kim Jung Il constitutes "a threat in his own right" but less so than Iraq's Saddam.

Both situations are dangerous, but they're not comparable, Rice said. "We believe that we have different methods that will work in North Korea that clearly have not and will not work in Iraq," she said.