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Bush Urges North Korean Leader to Give Up Weapons

By Steven Donald Smith
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, July 7, 2006 North Korean leader Kim Jong Il has the power to set his country on a more productive course by giving up its nuclear and ballistic missile ambitions, President Bush said today during a news conference at Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry.

"There's a choice for him to make," Bush said. "He can verifiably get rid of his weapons programs and stop testing rockets, and there's a way forward to help his people. The choice is his to make."

North Korea, officially known as the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, is an isolated, repressive regime of 23 million people that has experienced wide-scale starvation under its current leader. Earlier this week, in defiance of international wishes, the communist country test-fired seven ballistic missiles.

Bush reiterated that diplomacy is the best way to deal with recent North Korean provocations and explained that patience is important.

"It takes a while for a problem to fester and grow, and then it takes a while to solve them diplomatically. It's just the nature of diplomacy," he said. "I wish we could solve them overnight, but I'm realistic."

The international community must come together to put pressure on North Korea to reform its ways, Bush said, and urged China, Japan, Russia and South Korea, all participants in the Six-Party Talks, to seek a United Nations Security Council resolution condemning North Korea for its missile launches.

"It's best for all of us to go to the U.N. Security Council and say loud and clear, 'Here are some red lines. And that's what we're in the process of doing,'" Bush said. "What matters most of all is for Kim Jong Il to see the world speak with one voice."

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