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Bush Condemns North Korean Missile Launch Plans

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, June 21, 2006 – President Bush today condemned North Korea's planned missile test launch and said North Korea needs to live up to its commitments to be accepted in the world community.

"The North Koreans have made agreements with us in the past, and we expect them to keep their agreements," such as those involving test launches, Bush said during a press availability in Vienna.

The president said it's natural for people to feel uneasy about the test launch. "It should make people nervous when non-transparent regimes that have announced that they've got nuclear warheads fire missiles," he said.

"We think it would be in the world's interest to know what they're testing (and) what they intend to do on their test," the president said. "And so we've been working with our partners, particularly in that part of the world, to say to the North Koreans that this is not the way you conduct business in the world, this is not the way that peaceful nations conduct their affairs."

Bush said he is pleased the Chinese government urged North Korea not to fire "whatever it is on their missile." China has been a key player in the Six-Party Talks aimed at getting North Korea to abandon its nuclear ambitions. "I am pleased that they're taking responsibility in dealing with the leader of North Korea," Bush said. "It's a very positive sign."

"And we'll see whether or not the North Koreans listen," he said.

Bush said he also has talked to Russian President Vladamir Putin and Japan's leaders to address the North Korean issue. These efforts are "all aimed at telling the North Koreans that, 'In order to be an accepted nation, a non-isolated nation, there are certain international norms that you must live by,'" Bush said "And we expect them to live by those norms."

Austrian Chancellor Wolfgang Schuessel joined Bush in calling North Korea's failure to comply with international rules and standards "a matter of great concern" that he said is "always high on the priority list of foreign policy matters within the European Union."

If North Korea goes forward with its plans, "there will be a strong statement and a strong answer from the international community," Schuessel said. "And Europe will be part of it. So there's no doubt."

Schuessel said today's meeting with Bush and European Commission President Jose Barroso included discussions about "what to do when and if" North Korea launches the missile. "And there will be a strong response on that," he said.

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