Page last updated at 13:54 GMT, Thursday, 26 June 2008 14:54 UK

George Bush North Korea statement

George W Bush at the White House on 26 June 2008
George W Bush cautiously welcomed the belated declaration
Here is the full text of the statement by US President George W Bush:

The policy of the United States is a Korean peninsula free of all nuclear weapons.

This morning we moved a step closer to that goal when North Korean officials submitted a declaration of their nuclear programme to the Chinese government as part of the six-party talks.

The United States has no illusions about the regime in Pyongyang.

We remain deeply concerned about North Korea's human rights abuses, uranium enrichment activities, nuclear testing and proliferation, ballistic missile programmes, and the threat it continues to pose to South Korea and its neighbours.

Yet we welcome today's development as one step in the multi-step process laid out by the six-party talks between North Korea, China, Japan, Russia, South Korea, and the United States.

Last year North Korea pledged to disable its nuclear facilities. North Korea has begun disabling its Yongbyon nuclear facility, which was being used to produce plutonium for nuclear weapons.

This work is being overseen by officials from the United States and the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency).

To demonstrate its commitment, North Korea has said it will destroy the cooling tower at the Yongbyon reactor in front of international television cameras tomorrow.

Last year North Korea also pledged to declare its nuclear activity.

With today's declaration North Korea has begun describing its plutonium-related activities.

It has also provided other documents relating to its nuclear programmes going back to 1986.

It has promised access to the reactor core and waste facilities at Yongbyon, as well as personnel related to its nuclear programme.

All this information will be essential to verifying that North Korea is ending its nuclear programmes and activities.

The six-party talks are based on a principle of action for action.

So, in keeping with the existing six-party agreements, the United States is responding to North Korea's actions with two actions of our own:

  • First, I am issuing a proclamation which lifts the provisions of the Trading With The Enemy Act with respect to North Korea.
  • And secondly, I am notifying Congress of my intent to rescind North Korean's designation as a state sponsor of terror in 45 days.
  • The next 45 days will be an important period for North Korea, to show its seriousness of its co-operation.

    We will work through the six-party talks to develop a comprehensive and rigorous verification protocol, and during this period the United States will carefully observe North Korea's actions and act accordingly.

    The two actions America is taking will have little impact on North Korea's financial and diplomatic isolation.

    North Korea will remain one of the most heavily sanctioned nations in the world.

    The sanctions that North Korea faces for its human rights violations, its nuclear test in 2006, and its weapons proliferation will all stay in effect. And all United Nations Security Council sanctions will stay in effect as well.

    The six-party process has shed light on a number of issues of serious concern to the United States and the international community.

    To end its isolation, North Korea must address these concerns.

    It must dismantle all of its nuclear facilities, give up its separated plutonium, resolve outstanding questions on its highly enriched uranium and proliferation activities, and end these activities in a way that we can fully verify.

    North Korea must also meet other obligations it has undertaken in the six-party talks.

    The United States will never forget the abduction of Japanese citizens by the North Koreans.

    We will continue to closely co-operate and coordinate with Japan and press North Korea to swiftly resolve the abduction issue.

    This can be a moment of opportunity for North Korea.

    If North Korea continues to make the right choices, it can repair its relationship with the international community - much as Libya has done over the past few years.

    If North Korea makes the wrong choices, the United States and our partners in the six-party talks will respond accordingly.

    If they do not fully disclose and end their plutonium, their enrichment, and their proliferation efforts and activities, there will be further consequences.

    Multilateral diplomacy is the best way to peacefully solve the nuclear issue with North Korea.

    Today's developments show that tough multilateral diplomacy can yield promising results.

    Yet the diplomatic process is not an end in itself.

    Our ultimate goal remains clear: a stable and peaceful Korean Peninsula, where people are free from oppression, free from hunger and disease, and free from nuclear weapons.

    The journey toward that goal remains long, but today we have taken an important step in the right direction.

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