President Bush warned North Korea Wednesday that threats will not bring the United States to the negotiation table.
The president, speaking at the annual U.S.-European Union summit in Vienna, Austria, expressed concern over North Korea's plans to test a long-range missile.
"It should make people nervous when non-transparent regimes, who have announced they have nuclear warheads, fire missiles," Bush said. "This is not the way you conduct business in the world."
Bush also referred to Iran's refusal to discuss until mid-August an incentives package aimed to stop its nuclear pursuits.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said earlier Wednesday that his country will respond by mid-August to proposals presented to Tehran in early June by EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana.
If Iran accepts the offer, it has to suspend its uranium enrichment — a process that can produce material for nuclear generators or bombs.
The mid-August timetable "seems like an awfully long time" to wait for an answer. "It shouldn't take the Iranians that long to analyze what's a reasonable deal," Bush said.
"I said weeks, not months. And I believe that's the view of our partners," Bush said, adding that the United States will not directly negotiate with Iran until its uranium enrichment program is verifiably suspended.
Shortly after the president criticized two of the three members of the "axis of evil," his top diplomatic negotiator at the United Nations said the U.S. isn't going to have a one-on-one sit-down with North Korea any time soon.
The United States has been part of a six-nation coalition aimed at getting the North Koreans to the table. But posturing about test firing a missile that could reach across the Pacific Ocean and into the United States wasn't going to win North Korea concessions on direct talks, U.S. Ambassador John Bolton said.
"You don't normally engage in conversations by threatening to launch intercontinental ballistic missiles," Bolton said, "and it's not a way to produce a conversation because if you acquiesce in aberrant behavior you simply encourage the repetition of it, which we're obviously not going to do."
"Obviously the priority remains trying to persuade North Korea not to conduct the launch," Bolton told reporters at U.N. headquarters in New York.
North Korea officials said Wednesday that the country's self-imposed moratorium on testing long-range missiles, dating to 1999, no longer applies because Pyongyang no longer is in direct dialogue with Washington. The North Koreans have consistently pressed for a direct dialogue with the United States, and suggested they might halt any launch if Washington met at the table.
"North Korea as a sovereign state has the right to develop, deploy, test-fire and export a missile," said Han Song Ryol, deputy chief of North Korea's mission to the United Nations. "We are aware of the U.S. concerns about our missile test-launch. So our position is that we should resolve the issue through negotiations."
National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley has acknowledged that the intelligence is inconclusive on whether North Korea will test fire its Tae-Po-Dong 2 missile. But with the United States unwilling to exclude its partners in the North Korea negotiations, the United States is readying its 18-month-old missile defense system.
The system includes 11 ground-based missile interceptors in Alaska and California. Controlled tests have shown them to be imperfect, however, so more testing of that system may be in order.
If Bush were looking for a show of international unity in Vienna, he seemed to achieve that at a news conference with the leaders of Austria and the European Union.
Austrian Chancellor Wolfgang Schussel said Europeans should not be naive about the threat of terrorism. He said U.S.-driven changes have left Europe better able to define targets, cut off terrorist financing and share information. He also said Europe would condemn any missile test-fire by North Korea.
"There will be a strong statement, strong answer from the international community and Europe will be part of it," Schussel said.
"The world now is very complex. Even together we are not sure that we will solve all issues. But if we don't are [sic] working together, it will be much more difficult to face global challenges," said European Commission President Javier Barroso.
"I believe this summit was very helpful for having this closer relationship between the United States and Europe so that together we can do our best to make the world a better place," he said.
"It's very important for the leadership in Iran to look at the world and say, 'Europe and the United States and Russia and China are united in our common desire to make sure that Iranians do not develop a nuclear weapon,'" Bush said, adding he is encouraged that the Chinese government had spoken out against North Korea.
In New York, Bolton said if a missile is launched, the United Nations won't respond mildly, the way it did in 1998 when North Korea first announced it had conducted a missile test.
"There's no question about it," Bolton said. "We're seeing broad support for something stronger but we don't want to be in a position where we're predicting the future or doing anything other than making it clear we don't think the launch ought to take place."
Despite the seeming consensus, not all is calm in Europe. Earlier in the day, several hundred people protested the president's visit, not an unusual site for Bush. Asked what he thought of a Pew Research Center for the People and the Press poll that indicates Britons see the United States as more of a threat than Iran and nearly two-thirds of Austrians say the United States is bad for peace, the president called the results "absurd."
"I thought it was absurd for people to think that we're more dangerous than Iran," he said. "I don't govern by polls, you know. I just do what I think is right. And I understand some of the decisions I've made are controversial. But I made them in the best interest of our country and, I think, in the best interests of the world."
Bush also blamed the low numbers on opposition to the war in Iraq, the first "axis of evil" country to be addressed by the United States.
"People didn't agree with my decision on Iraq. I understand that. For Europe, September the 11th was a moment; for us, it was a change of thinking," he said. "We'll defend ourselves, but at the same times we're actively working with our partners to spread peace and democracy."
The other leaders at the conference also weren't shy to express concern about the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, calling it an anomaly and saying the war against terrorism can't be won if democracy and the rule of law are sacrificed.
But, "There are some who need to be tried in U.S. courts," Bush said. "They're cold-blooded killers. They will murder somebody if they are let out on the street."
Bush did acknowledge European concerns about the 460 detainees, most from Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan and Yemen, saying the U.S. Supreme Court is hearing the case on how to handle the prisoners. He noted that 200 detainees have already been sent home.
"I understand their concerns," Bush said. "I'd like to end Guantanamo. I'd like it to be over with."
Schussel said he was pleased with the president's reaction to Guantanamo concerns.
"Our discussion today went far beyond closing Guantanamo, because we have a legal problem; we have gray areas. And there should be no legal void, not in the fight against terrorists but also not for individuals, to be guaranteed in their individual rights and their freedom," the Austrian chancellor said.
"We got clear, clear signals and clear commitments from the American side: no torture, no extraordinary or extra-territorial positions to deal with terrorists. ... All the legal rights must be preserved."
FOX News' Wendell Goler, Molly Henneberg and Sharon Kehnemui Liss and The Associated Press contributed to this report.