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Bush: Diplomacy is Key to North Korea Solution

By Sgt. Sara Wood, USA
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, July 6, 2006 – As the international community unites and sends a clear message to North Korea demanding disarmament, North Korean leader Kim Jong Il will become less of a threat, President Bush said here today.

"We want to solve this problem diplomatically, and the best way to solve the problem diplomatically is for all of us to be working in concert and to send one message, and that is to Kim Jong Il that ... 'We expect you to adhere to international norms, and we expect you to keep your word,'" Bush said at a joint news conference with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

U.S. officials don't know what the North Korean government's intentions were when test firing seven ballistic missiles July 4 and yesterday, but the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, brought home the importance of taking every threat seriously, Bush said.

"That's one of the lessons of September the 11th, is that what takes place in other parts of the world can come home to hurt the American people," he said. "It used to be that it's okay if something were happening from afar; oceans could protect us. ... The lesson of September the 11th is that we're vulnerable, and therefore we (have) to deal with each threat."

The U.S. is also working with other countries, including Canada, on a proliferation security initiative to ensure that weapons of mass destruction don't get into the hands of terrorists, Bush said. It is hard to know what the North Korean government would do with nuclear weapons, because the society there is closed to all outside contact, he said.

"I think we've got to plan for the worst and hope for the best, and planning for the worst means to make sure that we continue to work with friends and allies, as well as those who've agreed to be a part of the Six-Party Talks, to continue to send a unified message," he said.

Harper and Bush agreed that a missile launched toward the U.S. could also be a threat to Canada, so it is important for the two countries to work together on common security initiatives.

Bush thanked the Canadians for their contributions in Afghanistan and for their disruption of a terrorist plot in Ontario in June, leading to the arrests of 17 people. "That just goes to show how safe Canada is," he said. "When you've got a government that's active and a police force that's capable, people ought to ... rest assured that Canada is on top of any plots."

Canada has 2,300 troops on the ground in Afghanistan who are playing an important role in security and development to protect national interests, rebuild Afghanistan and ensure it never becomes again a safe haven for terrorists, Harper said.

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