President Bush has rebuked North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, saying the United States has no heart for someone who starves his own people.
Mr. Bush told reporters at his Texas ranch Thursday that the United States is one of the world's largest food donors to North Korea.
But he said the North Korean people are starving because Mr. Kim has not seen to it that they are fed or the economy is strong.
U-S officials say there is no plan to cut back on food aid to the North in the coming year.
Mr. Bush also rejected suggestions that the United States' Asian partners -- South Korea, Japan, China, and Russia -- are reluctant to pressure North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons program.
He said there is a lot of behind-the-scenes efforts by these countries to make certain the Korean peninsula remains nuclear free.
Earlier Thursday, South Korea rejected a proposal from the North to join it in opposing the United States. Pyongyang has said Washington is planning a nuclear strike against it.
South Korean unification minister Jeong Se-hyun said only dialogue can resolve the crisis and suggested the North stop such aggressive talk.
South Korean Deputy Foreign Minister Lee Tae-sik and Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Wang Yi met in Beijing Thursday. They agreed on a joint effort to resolve the crisis over North's nuclear program.
South Korean Vice Foreign Minister Kim Hang-kyong will be in Moscow today (Friday) for talks -- another in a series of high-level meetings between South Korea and its Asian and Western allies on the nuclear crisis.
North Korea is reactivating a nuclear power plant that U-S and Western experts say can be used to re-process plutonium -- the key ingredient of nuclear weapons.