The United States has launched an intense diplomatic effort to get North Korea to abandon its nuclear program -- after saying Pyongyang has admitted developing nuclear weapons.
Two senior U-S diplomats met in Beijing with Chinese officials Friday amid U-S charges China and Russia have aided the North Korean nuclear program.
U-S diplomats will go next to Moscow, Paris and London -- all capitals of nations with nuclear weapons.
Meanwhile, the New York Times reports Pakistan may have supplied critical equipment for the North Korean program. The newspaper quotes current and former U-S officials who say the equipment may have included gas centrifuges used to create weapons-grade uranium.
A retired Pakistani general told the Reuters news service the Times report is based on conjecture. He blamed China and Russia for aiding North Korea's nuclear program.
U-S Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld says he believes North Korea already has several nuclear bombs. North Korea also has a well-developed missile program, and in 1997 tested a long-range missile by firing it over Japan.
Moscow has vigorously denied Washington's accusation, citing its suspension of cooperation with North Korea on the peaceful exploration of nuclear energy in 1993, after Pyongyang withdrew from the Treaty on Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.
U-S officials stress that they are trying to resolve the North Korea issue through diplomacy. They say the situation is not the same as in Iraq, where Washington has threatened to use force to end Baghdad's nuclear, chemical and biological weapons program.
Undersecretary of State John Bolton and Assistant Secretary of State James Kelly met in Beijing today (Friday) with Chinese officials to discuss the issue. After the Beijing meetings, Mr. Bolton will travel to Russia, Britain and France, while Mr. Kelly will hold talks in South Korea and Japan.
In Washington, some U-S lawmakers are urging President Bush to impose sanctions against North Korea. The chairman of the House International Relations Committee, Republican Henry Hyde, said Pyongang's reckless brinkmanship must be met with firm and united resolve.