President George W. Bush warned Kim Jong Il “there will be consequences'' if North Korea reneges on its pledge to declare and disable its nuclear program.
North Korea agreed Oct. 3 with the U.S., South Korea, China, Japan and Russia to fully disclose all of its nuclear operations and disable its Yongbyon complex under U.S. supervision by Dec. 31, in return for economic assistance, security guarantees and normalized ties with the U.S.
“If they don't fulfill that which they've said, we are now in a position to make sure that they understand that there will be consequences,'' Bush told reporters in Washington yesterday.
North Korea tested its first nuclear device in October last year, drawing international condemnation and United Nations Security Council sanctions.
Kim promised South Korean President Roh Moo Hyun that North Korea will honor its pledges made at the six-nation talks when the two leaders met in Pyongyang earlier this month.
As part of the six-nation agreement, North Korea will receive security guarantees and work toward establishing normal relations with the U.S. that would include its removal from the State Department's list of sponsors of terrorism.
Designation as a state sponsor of terrorism results in U.S. sanctions, including curbs on economic aid and a ban on arms- related sales. North Korea was put on the list in 1988 after its agents were implicated a year earlier in the bombing of a South Korean passenger jet, an attack that killed 155 people.
Bush declined to comment on reports in the New York Times and Washington Post last month that North Korea may be helping Syria build a nuclear plant. North Korea denied the reports Sept. 18.
“When it comes to the six-party talks, the issue of proliferation has equal importance with the issue of weaponry,'' Bush said. “North Korea has said that they will stop proliferating, just like they have said they will fully disclose and disable any weapons programs.''