N. Korea Doubts Nuke Talks Under Bush
SEOUL, South Korea – North Korea (search) doesn't expect six-nation talks on its nuclear weapons (search) program to resume anytime soon under a second-term administration of President Bush (search), a top communist envoy said in a report published Friday.
Han Song Ryol, deputy chief of North Korea's mission to the United Nations, said the nuclear talks can resume only if Bush changes what the communist state calls a hostile U.S. policy aimed at overthrowing the Pyongyang regime.
"We have watched the North Korea policy of the Bush administration in the past four years, and we doubt there will be a turnaround in the future," Han told South Korea's liberal Hankyoreh newspaper.
"As long as the United States plans to attack us and pursues a change in our political system or maintains such a policy, six-nation talks will be a waste of time even if the talks are held," Han said.
"Only when we see evidence that the U.S. policy toward North Korea is changing substantially, such talks will be possible," he added.
Han was the first senior North Korean official to comment on the prospects of the nuclear dispute since Bush won a second term in Tuesday's election.
Three rounds of six-nation talks have been held in Beijing, without breakthroughs in international efforts to curb North Korea's nuclear ambitions. A fourth round scheduled for September never took place because North Korea refused to attend.
The six-nation negotiations involve the United States, two Koreas, China, Japan and Russia.
Washington wants an immediate halt and U.N. inspections of North Korea's nuclear activities. It says it can consider security guarantees and economic aid if the freeze doesn't last long and is followed by a swift dismantling of nuclear facilities.
South Korea has urged the United States, North Korea and other members of the six-nation talks to be "more creative and realistic" to help restart the stalled talks.