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North Korea Poses Problem For Many Nations

By Kathleen T. Rhem
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 10, 2003 – If North Korea continues on its nuclear path, it will find itself increasingly isolated, U.S. National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice said Feb. 9.

Many countries are concerned about North Korea's nuclear potential. China in particular has said it wishes the Korean Peninsula to remain nonnuclear.

"We believe, therefore, that we have a diplomatic course that is likely to be fruitful on the Korean Peninsula," Rice told Bob Schieffer on CBS' "Face the Nation" news program.

However, the world has run out of diplomatic solutions in dealing with Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq. "We have tried everything in Iraq -- limited military force, sanctions -- we have tried everything," she said.

The onus is on North Korea to make concessions if the country's leaders want to restart dialogue with the U.S. government, Rice said. North Korea has said it will deal only with the United States on this issue. The U.S. government's position is that it and North Korea mutually consented to the 1994 Framework Agreement, and North Korea confessed last year it had violated the pact for years. Now it's up to other countries in the region, in coordination with the United States, to reach a diplomatic solution in North Korea.

"We are not going to run back into a situation just like that where we give them an agreement of some kind and they give us promises," Secretary of State Colin Powell said Feb. 9. "This time it has to be something that is ironclad, something that involves the other nations in the region."

In an interview with Tim Russert on NBC's "Meet the Press," Powell urged China to use its influence in the region to bring about an agreement with North Korea.

The United States has taken criticism in the region for refusing to deal unilaterally with North Korea. On the other hand, it has been vilified in some circles for not taking a more multilateral track regarding Iraq.

"We're criticized when we're unilateral, and then, when we try to be multilateral we are criticized," Powell said.

Regardless, the bottom line, according to Powell: "I think there is still an opportunity to solve this problem diplomatically."

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