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U.N. agency to rebuke N. Korea

choe
Choe at a press conference held at the North Korean Embassy on Friday.

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CNN's Rebecca MacKinnon talks with U.S. Army personnel stationed in the S. Korean demilitarized zone about the situation with N.Korean nuclear activity
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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The U.N.'s nuclear inspections agency will issue a statement Monday criticizing North Korea's decision to resume its nuclear program, a senior State Department official told CNN.

But the International Atomic Energy Agency, an autonomous arm of the United Nations, will stop short of asking the U.N. Security Council to take action against the Pyongyang regime, the official said.

The IAEA's board of governors in a meeting Monday will give North Korea more time to abandon its nuclear program before asking the Security Council for action, though no specific time frame has been set, the official said.

The Bush administration will support the IAEA's course of action, according to the senior official.

"We are expecting a very strong statement," the official said. "But we are not going to the Security Council at this point."

The Bush administration Friday rejected North Korea's call for dialogue on the nuclear program, saying North Korea must give up its efforts to develop nuclear weapons before talks can begin.

"We're not going to enter into negotiations in response to threats or broken commitments. We're not going to bargain or offer inducements to North Korea to live up to the treaties and agreements that it has signed," said State Department spokesman Richard Boucher.

"The issue is whether North Korea will verifiably and visibly dismantle its nuclear weapons program that violates previous commitments."

North Korea disclosed in October that it had renewed efforts to develop nuclear weapons it swore off in a 1994 agreement.

Choe Jin Su, North Korea's ambassador to China, said North Korea has tried to seek dialogue with the United States while exercising self-restraint.

"Running contrary to the main trend in the new century towards reconciliation and peace, the U.S. alone with their Cold War-style thinking is threatening us with nuclear weapons," Choe said.

He blamed the current diplomatic standoff on the "hostile stance" taken by the United States, citing President Bush's labeling of North Korea as part of an "axis of evil" along with Iraq and Iran and stopping fuel oil shipments after North Korea disclosed the existence of its renewed nuclear program.

Assistant Secretary of State Jim Kelly will meet with Japanese and South Korean officials in Washington next week and then travel to Seoul for more talks.

Also, Undersecretary of State for Arms Control John Bolton will visit South Korea, Japan and China in the coming weeks. Boucher said the talks will be aimed at reaching a peaceful resolution of the situation.

In a speech to U.S. troops in Texas on Friday, Bush said the United States and its allies must "speak with one voice" to convince North Korea to give up its nuclear ambitions.

CNN's Elise Labott and Lisa Rose Weaver contributed to this story.



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