- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 7, 2001

The Bush administration announced yesterday that it will resume talks with North Korea on its missile program and would also push for discussions on border troop concentrations.
No date was announced for the resumed dialogue, which was suspended soon after President Bush took office. The talks were halted while the new administration began a review of whether the previous administration had been too accommodating to the communist regime in Pyongyang.
"I have directed my national security team to undertake serious discussions with North Korea on a broad agenda," said President Bush in a statement released by the White House.
The talks will include "improved implementation of the agreed framework relating to North Koreas activities," which was signed by the Clinton administration and North Korea in 1994, the president said.
The U.S. agenda will also include North Koreas missile programs, a ban on missile exports and "a less threatening conventional military posture" by its million-man army near the border of South Korea, where 37,000 U.S. troops are stationed.
Secretary of State Colin Powell meets today with South Korean Foreign Minister Han Seung-soo and will disclose to him the results of a review of U.S. policy toward North Korea, a State Department spokesman said yesterday.
"The meeting tomorrow will provide us with another opportunity to discuss the situation on the peninsula and future policies with our South Korean ally," said spokesman Richard Boucher yesterday.
"Well have something to say tomorrow to the South Korean foreign minister."
State Department officials speaking on the condition of anonymity said the review had largely decided to continue the Clinton administrations policy of engagement with the North and to support the 1994 U.S.-North Korea Framework Accord.
But the Bush administration had sought to mollify severe critics of that policy in Congress who had spent seven years accusing the Clinton administration of appeasement of the North.
Under the Framework Accord, North Korea froze its nuclear program, which was suspected of aiming at weapons production, in return for U.S. fuel oil and twin nuclear power reactors to be provided by South Korea and Japan.
The United States also provided substantial famine relief to North Korea since a series of natural disasters beginning in the mid-1990s.
South Koreas President Kim Dae-jung used the Clinton opening to North Korea to begin his own "Sunshine Policy" of engagement, trade and diplomacy, which led to a summit meeting in Pyongyang, the Norths capital, last year.
The Norths leader, Kim Jong-il, while retaining absolute, Draconian and totalitarian control over his people, moved to open diplomatic relations with Western countries and openly courted American trade, aid and diplomatic contacts.
Mr. Powell at first said the Bush administration would continue the Clinton policies of engagement with the North.
But, during a visit by the Souths president, Mr. Bush shifted course and pulled the plug on all talks on halting the Norths missile programs and other issues.
Mr. Bush said that the North was not to be trusted, and that verification systems must be in place on any agreements before any further talks would proceed.
The review of policy was then started.
Even though the U.S.-North Korean talks were halted, the North announced to visiting European diplomats recently that it would unilaterally continue its moratorium on long-range missile tests for another two years.

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