U.S. to demand N. Korea end arms efforts

Negotiations to open next week in Beijing

February 20, 2004|By NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICE

WASHINGTON - The United States will demand next week that North Korea agree to dismantle all its nuclear weapons and development programs - including a uranium enrichment program that Pakistan is believed to have supplied in recent years - as a prerequisite for any assistance, a Bush administration official said yesterday.

But in a briefing in advance of negotiations with North Korea in Beijing next week, the administration official said he would not specify whether any commitment to dismantle the uranium enrichment program, along with other weapons programs, had to be explicit, or whether the administration would settle for a more vaguely worded commitment from North Korea.

Confronted with intelligence gathered by the United States and South Korea, North Korea acknowledged to U.S. officials in October 2002 that it had an active program to enrich uranium, in addition to its much older effort to turn spent plutonium into a weapon.

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