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The BBC's Richard Lister in Washington
''President Bush has made it vey clear tht he will treat North Korea as a signficant threat''
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Richard Solomon, US Institute for Peace
"I think the administration will be looking for more movement on security issues"
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Audio
"I think North Korea should exercise restraint in its own self-interest"
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Thursday, 8 March, 2001, 06:37 GMT
Bush rules out North Korea talks
Presidents Kim Dae-jung and George W Bush
Kim and Bush said their talks were frank
President George W Bush has ruled out an early resumption of talks with North Korea, saying US policy towards the region would have to be reviewed first.

Mr Bush said any deal on limiting North Korea's missile programme would include verifiable terms that would prevent cheating.


I do have some scepticism about the leader of North Korea

President Bush

He expressed doubt that such a secretive nation as North Korea could be trusted to abide by an agreement.

Mr Bush's comments followed a meeting with the South Korean President, Kim Dae-jung, who favours a policy of engagement with North Korea.

Both leaders described their talks at the White House as frank.

Scepticism

''We do look forward to - at some point in the future - having a dialogue with the North Koreans,'' Mr Bush said.

''But any negotiation would require complete verification.''

Colin Powell
Powell: "Some promising elements were left on the table"
He said he was not sure North Korean leader, Kim Jong-il, was abiding by the terms of its existing international agreements.

''I do have some scepticism about the leader of North Korea,'' he said.

The Clinton administration came close to persuading North Korea to abandon its missile programme in return for a substantial aid package.

Washington has pointed to the North's arsenal to justify pushing ahead with its controversial national missile defence (NMD) programme.

Reconciliation efforts

Earlier, Secretary of State Colin Powell said US relations would not resume at the point reached after former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright's visit to Pyongyang last October.

But he added: "Some promising elements were left on the table and we will be examining those elements."

Border
The Korean border is one of the last frontiers of the Cold War

Mr Kim, who won the Nobel Peace Prize last year for his reconciliation efforts with the north, also met members of the Bush administration and members of Congress.

South Korea had hoped the talks would strengthen bilateral ties and result in support from the new US administration for Seoul's rapprochement policy towards Pyongyang.

The BBC's Richard Lister in Washington says the tougher tone from the White House is unlikely to be welcomed by the South Korean leader, who is trying to reduce tension through increased contacts with the North.

Staunch ally

North Korea last weekend signalled its impatience with the slow process of the Bush administration's policy review.

South Korean President Kim Dae-jung with wife Lee Hee-ho
President Kim came to the US hoping to find common ground
Government officials in Pyongyang repeated a warning that they might scrap a moratorium on long-range missile tests and revive a nuclear programme that Washington fears was being used to develop nuclear weapons.

The US, with 37,000 troops stationed in the south to counter any threat from the north, has been a staunch ally of Seoul.

But while President Kim's ''sunshine policy'', aimed at constructively engaging the North, was strongly supported by President Clinton the current administration has so far been cautious in spelling out its policy towards Pyongyang.

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See also:

08 Mar 01 | Asia-Pacific
Seoul's fears over Bush
13 Oct 00 | Asia-Pacific
Kim Dae-jung: Korean peacemaker
22 Feb 01 | Asia-Pacific
N Korea threatens end to missile deal
17 Jan 01 | Asia-Pacific
S Korea extends missile range
15 Aug 00 | Asia-Pacific
Summer months melt Korean ice
23 Oct 00 | Asia-Pacific
Pyongyang reaches out
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