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World Community Condemns North Korea's Withdrawal from Nuclear Treaty - 2003-01-10


President Bush and Chinese President Jiang Zemin have agreed that North Korea's withdrawal from a global treaty designed to prevent the spread of atomic weapons is a concern to the entire international community.

The two leaders spoke by telephone Friday. A White House spokesman says Mr. Bush told Mr. Jiang that Pyongyang's decision binds Washington and Beijing in a common purpose -- to seek a peaceful solution to the standoff.

Visiting Capitol Hill for a meeting with U-S Secretary of State Colin Powell, the chief of the International Atomic Energy Agency characterized North Korea's action as defiant and counterproductive to peace and stability on the Korean peninsula. Mohamed El Baradei strongly urged Pyongyang to reconsider its decision.

Japan, Russia, France, Britain and Australia are among the nations calling on North Korea to resolve the issue through diplomatic and peaceful means. France and Britain called for the U-N Security Council to take up the issue, while Australia said it plans to send a senior diplomatic delegation to Pyongyang next week.

At a summit of the Japanese and Russian leaders in Moscow, Japan's Junichiro Koizumi called North Korea's decision extremely regrettable, and demanded that it be reversed immediately. Russia's Vladimir Putin said he believes North Korea's decision to quit the nuclear safeguards treaty can be resolved through negotiation.

North Korea has said it has no intention of producing nuclear weapons, but that its nuclear program is limited to peaceful purposes such as producing electricity.

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