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Powell Rules Out Attack on North Korea

Secretary of State Colin Powell offered assurances Monday to North Korea that the United States had no plan to attack it but he rejected an overture for a nonagression treaty.

"The United States is not seeking to precipitate a crisis," Powell said. In fact, he said, the Bush administration was ready to move forward and forge a better relationship with Pyongyang.

"North Korea knows the United States does not intend to start a war with North Korea," Powell said during talks at the State Department with Japan's foreign and defense ministers.

But signing a treaty would reward North Korea for decisions to resume enrichment of fuel for nuclear weapons and to reopen shuttered nuclear power facilities, Powell said.

Foreign Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi echoed Powell's demands that North Korea reverse the twin decisions that have stirred a diplomatic crisis.

She said Japan maintained a channel for direct communication with North Korea — a contact the Bush administration has ruled out for itself — but that there was no difference in the U.S. and Japanese policy on North Korean nuclear power facilities.

North Korea will have to dismantle its unanium enrichment program and reverse its decision to reopen nuclear power facilities, she said.

"There is no difference between us," Kawaguchi said.

Undersecretary of State Paul Wolfowitz and Japanese Defense Minister Shigeru Ishiba also attended the talks. They are scheduled regularly to strengthen ties between the two countries. Last year's meeting was called off, however, after the 9-11 terror attacks on the United States.