WASHINGTON – Secretary of State Colin Powell on Monday refused to respond to North Korea's demands under which it would abandon its nuclear weapons and missile programs, but he said the Bush administration was reviewing Pyongyang's proposal.
"The North Koreans acknowledged a number of things they were currently doing and said they were now up for discussion," Powell said.
"They did put forward a plan that would ultimately deal with their nuclear capabilities and their missile activities, but they of course expected something considerable in return," he said, offering no further details of the U.S.-North Korean negotiations in Beijing last week. "We are studying that plan."
During last week's talks, North Korea said that it had nuclear weapons and would be willing to prove it, according to U.S. officials.
On Monday, Powell said the North Koreans did not mention any specific weapon, but that Pyongyang had "the kind of capability that one can display in one way or another."
Reports were that Pyongyang wanted the United States to "drop its hostile attitude" in anticipation of a deal that would put its program to rest.
The reports perhaps reflected North Korea's continuing pursuit for a formal declaration of nonaggression, a demand to which Washington was unlikely to agree.
Powell labeled as "nonsense" a claim that ran in The Washington Post over the weekend saying that North Korea told the State Department on March 31 that it had begun reprocessing fuel rods and that the State Department did not share that information with the rest of the Bush administration.
He said U.S. intelligence "cannot give us any validation" of North Korea's reprocessing activities but he did not think the information available to the United States "was anything new or newsworthy."
The administration was currently reviewing comments made during three days of meetings as documented by Assistant Secretary of State James Kelly, who led the U.S. delegation.
The administration has shared the information with Japan, South Korea, Russia and Australia.
U.S. officials have said they were seeking the "verifiable and irreversible" elimination of North Korea's nuclear program and would not concede to demands.
"We are not going to give a quid pro quo to get rid of a nuclear-weapons program that never should have existed in the first place," State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said last week.
Fox News' Teri Schultz and the Associated Press contributed to this report.