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US Demands North Korea Honor Agreement To Scrap Nukes: Bush

US President George W Bush (L) and Chinese President Hu Jintao give a joint press conference after their bilateral meeting at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, 20 November 2005. Bush is on a three day visit to China having just left the APEC conference in South Korea. AFP photo by Pool/Adrian Bradshaw.

Beijing (AFP) Nov 20, 2005
The United States demands that North Korea honor its commitment to end its nuclear weapons program, US President George W. Bush said Sunday during a visit to China, the North's closest ally.

"The fourth round of six-party talks in September ended with a joint statement in which North Korea committed to abandon all nuclear weapons and all existing nuclear programs," Bush said following a meeting with Chinese President Hu Jintao.

"The United States expects it to honor its commitment."

He was speaking to reporters after a meeting with Hu during which both discussed ways to make progress in the six-party talks, which are aimed at halting the North's nuclear ambitions.

China is also Pyongyang's biggest aid provider and Washington needs Beijing's help to resolve the nuclear issue.

Bush said the United States and China both want "a Korean peninsula that is stable, peaceful and free of nuclear weapons."

He expressed appreciation to China for playing a leading role in the talks, which Beijing hosts. China also played a key role in convincing the North to participate in the multilateral talks.

"Thank you for taking the lead in the six-party talks," Bush said.

Hu pledged to continue to work with the United States to "move forward" the six-party talks and "peacefully resolve" the nuclear issue at an early date.

After more than two years of six-party negotiations, North Korea agreed in principle at the fourth round in September to scrap its nuclear weapons drive in return for economic and diplomatic benefits.

But countries involved, as well as those at a just-ended summit of Asia-Pacific leaders in South Korea, want concrete action to put that deal into effect after a fifth round of talks ended in deadlock this month.

The six nations involved in the talks are the United States, the two Koreas, China, Russia and Japan.

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Iran Takes Tough Stance Ahead Of UN Nuclear Meeting
Tehran (AFP) Nov 20, 2005
Iran was Sunday sticking to its tough stance ahead of a crucial meeting of the UN's atomic agency, refusing to bow to demands for greater transparency in its nuclear programme and threatening tough retaliation if referred to the Security Council.

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