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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

U.S. Rejects Offer of Talks With N. Korea

WASHINGTON -- The White House on Sunday rejected an offer from North Korea to open negotiations over the North's newly disclosed nuclear weapons program.

White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said there could be no talks until the program is dismantled.

"North Korea knows what it needs to do," said Fleischer. "It needs to dismantle its nuclear program and honor its treaty obligations."

Speaking to reporters aboard Air Force One as U.S. President George W. Bush headed to Illinois on a pre-election political trip, Fleischer was responding to statements made through the North Korean Mission to the United Nations in which the North called for talks on its nuclear program, and said it was open to meeting the U.S. government's demand for an end to the uranium enrichment program.

In the statements, North Korea said it would also be willing to consider international inspections of the uranium facilities.

But Fleischer suggested that the United States was unwavering in its demand that North Korea must dismantle the program first, before any talks can occur.

North Korea has acknowledged that the uranium enrichment program is a violation of a 1994 agreement with the United States, but it has insisted that it was the United States that first violated the accord, including by its failure to deliver two civilian nuclear power plants that were promised under the accord.