The White House, President George W. Bush Click to print this document

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
November 15, 2002

Statement by the President

I welcome yesterday's strong statement by the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization (KEDO) on the need for North Korea to eliminate its nuclear weapons program and its decision to suspend further shipment of fuel oil to North Korea beginning in December. We are working closely with our partners in KEDO and our friends around the world to address this shared challenge.

North Korea has acknowledged that it is actively pursuing a nuclear weapons program based on enriched uranium. This program undermines regional and international security and the international nonproliferation regime. North Korea is also in direct violation of the North's commitments under the Agreed Framework, the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), its International Atomic Energy Agency Safeguards Agreement, and the Joint North-South Declaration on the Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. North Korea's clear violation of its international commitments will not be ignored.

The United States hopes for a different future with North Korea. As I made clear during my visit to South Korea in February, the United States has no intention of invading North Korea. This remains the case today. The United States seeks friendship with the people of North Korea.

In June 2001, we offered to pursue a comprehensive dialogue with North Korea. We developed a bold approach under which, if the North addressed our long-standing concerns, the United States was prepared to take important steps that would have significantly improved the lives of the North Korean people. Now that North Korea's covert nuclear weapons program has come to light, we are unable to pursue this approach.

North Korea's nuclear weapons program is a challenge to all responsible nations. The leaders of the Asia-Pacific region made clear in a unanimous statement in October that North Korea's potential to benefit from participation in the international community rests upon the prompt and visible dismantlement of this program. We are united in our desire for a peaceful resolution of this situation. We are also united in our resolve that the only option for addressing this situation is for North Korea to completely and visibly eliminate its nuclear weapons program.

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