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White House, State Discuss Nonproliferation Efforts

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 2, 2005 – U.S. officials stressed today that North Korea should end its isolation and come back to the Six Party Talks as soon as possible.

White House spokesman Scott McClellan said the United States continues to urge North Korea to come back to the talks. "We have a proposal on the table," McClellan said during a White House news conference. "All parties in the region are in agreement that that is the only viable path for North Korea to pursue."

McClellan said North Korea has a strategic decision to make and it should decide "to abandon its nuclear weapons program. Then it can start to become part of the international community."

The spokesman said the nuclear issue is not the only one confronting the six nations - the United States, China, Russia, Japan, South Korea and North Korea - involved in the talks, but it is the most important.

North Korea test-fired a missile into the Sea of Japan on May 1. South Korean officials said the missile was not a long-range rocket and could not carry a nuclear warhead.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said no one should be confused about U.S. ability to deter North Korean nuclear ambitions or gains on the peninsula. "We have, after all, a very strong alliance with South Korea and a very strong alliance with Japan," she said during a news conference today. "And of course the United States maintains significant - and I want to underline 'significant' - deterrent capability of all kinds in the Asia-Pacific region."

McClellan said U.S. representatives to the U.N.'s meeting on the Nonproliferation Treaty will speak about the benefits of the treaty and that "the vast majority of those who are party to the treaty are meeting their obligations, but there are some that are not."

He said Steven G. Rademaker, an assistant secretary of state, will discuss North Korea and Iran and their noncompliance.

The spread of weapons of mass destruction is a serious threat the world faces, McClellan said. President Bush would like to close a loophole in the treaty that allows for countries to "pursue nuclear weapons under the guise of a civilian nuclear program. And that is a concern of ours, particularly with a country like Iran," he added.

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