Rice: We won't tell Asian gov'ts what to do

US secretary of state meets with S. Korean leaders to discuss sanctions on N. Korea for nuclear tests.

October 19, 2006 22:33
1 minute read.
Rice: We won't tell Asian gov'ts what to do

rice gesticulates 298.88. (photo credit: AP)

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Thursday she would not try to dictate how US allies enforce sanctions on North Korea for its nuclear program. "The key is to live up to the obligation that all of us undertook" to bar North Korea from exporting nuclear technology or receiving overseas help for its nuclear program, Rice said after meetings with South Korea's president and top diplomat. South Korea and China are the communist North's closest neighbors and trading partners, accounting for two-thirds of its foreign commerce. Both nations are pledged to carry out UN restrictions approved after North Korea's Oct. 9 test explosion of a small nuclear device, but they have hedged on details. Rice visits Chinese leaders Friday in Beijing. Rice is on a crisis mission to Asia to reinforce the sanctions and reassure jittery allies of US support. But she played down differences over how to confront Pyongyang, and left US expectations vague. "I did not come to South Korea nor will I go anyplace else to try to dictate to governments what they ought to do," to enforce the UN mandate, Rice said at a news conference with South Korean Foreign Minister Ban Ki-moon. Ban said Seoul will review the terms of economic projects it has undertaken with the North "in harmony and in line with the UN Security Council resolution and international demands," but he made no promises. North Korean Gen. Ri Chan Bok told ABC News that his country's nuclear weapons were "to defend our country and our people" and would not be sold for profit. He also said US President George W. Bush wants Pyongyang to "kneel." At the White House, spokesman Tony Snow denied that Bush wanted North Korea to "kneel down," and said the US was seeking a diplomatic accord with North Korea over its nuclear weapons. Snow said that included a "better economy, more security, better relations with their neighbors, integration into the global community, as opposed to isolation."

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