U.S. President George Bush says he is ready
to lift some sanctions against North Korea and drop it from the U.S. list of
state sponsors of terrorism, after Pyongyang submitted a long-awaited
declaration on its nuclear activities. VOA's Paula Wolfson reports from the
Bush says multi-lateral negotiations with North Korea on the nuclear issue have
always been based on the premise of action for action.
He says, now that Pyongyang has submitted its nuclear
declaration, the United States is living up to its end of the
"I am issuing a proclamation
that lifts the provisions of the Trading With the Enemy Act with respect to
North Korea," said Mr. Bush. "And secondly, I am notifying Congress of my intent
to rescind North Korea's designation as a state sponsor of terror in 45
But the president stresses he
has no illusions about the nature of the North Korean regime, and he makes clear
he remains suspicious of its intentions.
He says North Korea has much more to do, adding the declaration
is the first step in a long journey.
"It must dismantle all of its nuclear facilities, give up its
separated plutonium, resolve outstanding questions on its highly enriched
uranium and proliferation activities and end these activities in a way that we
can fully verify," added President Bush.
Mr. Bush notes Pyongyang's intention to destroy the cooling
tower of its Yongbyon nuclear reactor on Friday in front of television cameras.
He says North Korea is making good choices at the present time, and urges the
government of Kim Jung Il to stay on that path.
"This can be a moment of opportunity for North Korea. If North
Korea continues to make the right choices, it can repair its relationship with
the international community, much as Libya has done over the past few years. If
North Korea makes the wrong choices, the United States and our partners in the
six-party talks will respond accordingly," he said.
The president spoke during a hastily arranged appearance in the
White House Rose Garden. Under questioning from reporters, he strongly defended
the multilateral diplomatic approach he has taken in dealing with North Korea -
which he once declared part of an "axis of evil."
He said direct negotiations between Washington and Pyongyang
did not work, and he realized the only way to get results was to work together
with China, South Korea, Russia and Japan in the so-called six-party
"We have worked hard to put
multilateral diplomacy in place, because, the United States sitting down with
Kim Jung Il did not work in the past," said Mr. Bush. "Sitting alone at the
table just didn't work."
Critics say the declaration
provided by North Korea falls well short of the Bush administration's original
demands. It does not, for example, give a detailed accounting of Pyongyang's
nuclear weapons arsenal.
Mr. Bush denies the
declaration is watered down. He indicates he believes it is a sound achievement
in the light of diplomatic failures of the past. And he makes clear the focus
now must be on securing further results, and keeping the momentum