- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 31, 2002

Five members of Congress yesterday urged President Bush to scrap the 1994 nuclear agreement with North Korea because of Pyongyang's recent admission that it had a covert nuclear arms program.
"First and foremost, it seems that since North Korea's covert nuclear program is a blatant violation of the Agreed Framework, the accord is nullified," the lawmakers said in a letter sent to the White House.
"In that regard, we strongly believe that the U.S. should cease support for the Korean Energy Development Organization [KEDO], and that U.S. fuel-oil shipments should be permanently terminated."
The letter was signed by Sens. Jon Kyl, Arizona Republican; Jesse Helms, North Carolina Republican; and Robert C. Smith, New Hampshire Republican. In the House, Reps. Christopher Cox, California Republican, and Edward J. Markey, Massachusetts Democrat, signed the letter.
The Bush administration has sent mixed signals about how it will respond to the North Korean government's disclosure earlier this month that it has been covertly developing nuclear weapons in violation of the 1994 agreement to freeze its arms program.
The lawmakers asked Mr. Bush if the administration had ended the energy subsidies, and whether Washington was pressing Japan and South Korea to end funding for nuclear-power facilities in North Korea.
"We hope that the United States will be able to implement the full range of economic and diplomatic sanctions to compel North Korean compliance with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty," the letter says.
The congressmen said the United States should work aggressively with allies "to prepare for a future beyond the current Stalinist regime in Pyongyang."
"We see no viable alternative given the proven failure of subsidizing North Korea and of relying upon that country's promises," they stated.
The lawmakers called for "a change in the regime" and to that end, pushed "ending all subsidies, dramatically increasing Radio Free Asia broadcasting, and announcing a policy of temporary first asylum for people seeking to flee North Korea."
They said they would work with the president on a new strategy aimed at "bringing about the liberation of the people of this oppressed country, and ending the threat to global peace that its dangerous regime represents."
In Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, North Korea yesterday rebuffed demands by Japan to halt the nuclear weapons program and to permanently repatriate five Japanese citizens and their families who were abducted by North Korean agents.
North Korean officials insisted that normalization of ties and economic aide precede any resolution of issues related to Pyongyang's nuclear program and also said Pyongyang needed nuclear arms to cope with a U.S. threat and would only deal with Washington.
"Unfortunately, we saw no change in the North's position," said Katsunari Suzuki, chief of the Japanese delegation. "We are very disappointed by this."
Early today, South Korean President Kim Dae-jung's chief spokeswoman said Seoul would proceed with diplomacy, buoyed by the unanimous backing Mr. Kim had won at an Asia-Pacific summit last weekend in Mexico.
Park Sun-sook told reporters that Mr. Kim realized that diplomacy puts "a long road ahead of us," but added that "verifiable action by North Korea is necessary."
Mr. Kim told his country yesterday that "the ball is now in North Korea's court."

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