Bush Backs Tough UN Action Against North Korea

By Scott Stearns
White House
14 October 2006 
U.S. President George Bush wants strong United Nations action against North Korea following the country's reported nuclear test.  Opposition Democrats say the president has not done enough to prevent North Korea from developing nuclear weapons.


President Bush says North Korea has again broken its word, provoked an international crisis and denied its people the opportunity for a better life.

Pyongyang says it conducted an underground nuclear test this past week. U.S. officials say air samples are consistent with an atomic explosion, but the Bush administration says there has been no final determination about whether Monday's blast was indeed nuclear. U.S. officials said Friday, results from an earlier test showed no evidence of radiological fallout.

In his weekly radio address, before the U.N. Security Council met, President Bush backed U.N. action against North Korea, demanding that it dismantle its nuclear program.

"By passing such a resolution, we will send a clear message to the North Korean regime that its actions will not be tolerated," said Mr. Bush.  "And we will give the nations with the closest ties to North Korea - China and South Korea - a framework to use their leverage to pressure Pyongyang, and persuade its regime to change course."

The president is resisting calls by outgoing U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan for direct talks with North Korea. Mr. Bush favors a multilateral approach, involving the United States, China, Russia, South Korea, and Japan.

"The logic behind this approach is clear: North Korea's neighbors have the most at stake, and they are North Korea's principal sources of food, energy and trade," he added.  "So it makes sense to enlist them in the effort to get the North Korean regime to end its nuclear program."

That program has become a political issue in the United States, less than a month before congressional elections. Opposition Democrats say the president has been focusing on the war in Iraq, while North Korea and Iran advance their nuclear programs.

In the Democratic radio address, Pennsylvania Congressman Patrick Murphy said the president and Republicans in Congress have made America less safe, both at home and abroad.

"We have seen the number of terrorist attacks increase around the world," he said.  "We have seen North Korea and Iran, two members of the president's axis of evil, enhance their nuclear weapons capabilities."

Murphy, who is an Iraq war veteran, says he has seen first hand the right and wrong way to engage in war. He says it is clear that President Bush and the Republican-led Congress have it wrong.

"My fellow soldiers continue to die in Iraq, without a clear mission, without benchmarks to determine success and without a clear timeline for coming home," he added.

President Bush says a timeline for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq would embolden the enemy, and allow them to wait for American forces to leave.