US President George W. Bush, trying to stiffen global resolve to confront North Korea, failed to win South Korea's support Saturday for a tough inspection program to intercept ships suspected of carrying supplies for Pyongyang's nuclear and missile weapons.
Bush sought to persuade South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun to fully implement UN sanctions imposed on North Korea for testing nuclear weapons. He also sought South Korea's support in the Proliferation Security Initiative, a voluntary international program that calls for stopping ships suspected of trafficking in weapons of mass destruction.
Roh said his country "is not taking part in the full scope" of the security initiative" but that it would "support the principles and goals of the PSI.
Bush met with Roh before the opening of a summit of 21 Pacific Rim leaders. The president tried to put the best face on the disagreement, saying he and Roh have a mutual desire to "effectively enforce the will of the world" through UN sanctions imposed on North Korea for its nuclear test.
"I appreciate the cooperation we're receiving from South Korea for the Proliferation Security Initiative," Bush said.
"Our desire is to solve the North Korean issue peacefully," Bush said.
North Korea is a primary target of the Proliferation Security Initiative. South Korea has only been an observer to the program out of concern its direct participation in stopping and searching North Korean ships could lead to armed clashes with its volatile neighbor.