Bush, Lee call on North Korea to submit honest nuclear declaration

Other News Materials 19 April 2008 21:48 (UTC +04:00)

( dpa ) - US President George W Bush and his South Korean counterpart, Lee Myung-bak, on Saturday pledged to ensure that whatever declaration North Korea makes about it's nuclear activities is complete and not misleading.

The North Koreans have "made some promises and we'll make a judgement as to whether they have met those promises," Bush said as he and Lee wrapped up a two-day summit at the Camp David presidential retreat outside Washington.

North Korea missed the December deadline, outlined in the February 2007 disarmament agreement, to disclose all of its nuclear activities over the years, putting a snag in the six-nation negotiations designed to implement the deal to a halt.

Bush suggested North Korea could be stalling to test the unity of the other five countries pressuring North Korea to abandon its nuclear ambitions. Lee said it will likely take more time to get the disclosure from North Korea while reaffirming his country's commitment to ensure the peninsula is nuclear free.

"We need persistent patience," Lee said.

North Korea topped the agenda during the meetings, but the two leaders also discussed ratifying a free trade agreement, climate change, energy security and agreed to allowing South Korea into the US programme that would allow South Koreans to travel to the US without first obtaining a visa.

The gathering also came as South Korea agreed to lift a ban on US beef imports enacted in December 2003 after a case of mad cow disease in the US.