US president and Japanese prime minister threatened N. Korea With Possibility of New Sanctions

( LatWp ) - President Bush and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe threatened North Korea on Friday with the possibility of new sanctions unless it abides by its promise to shut down its nuclear program, while Bush invited senior lawmakers to the White House next week to discuss how to break the stalemate over Iraq war funding.

``We're hoping that the North Korea leader continues to make the right choice for his country,'' Bush said at a joint news conference with Abe at the presidential retreat here. ``But if he should choose not to, we've got a strategy to make sure that the pressure we've initially applied is even greater. That's our plan.''

Bush was also asked about the impasse with Congress over Iraq, with lawmakers planning to send the president a bill next week that would require the beginning of troop reductions. Bush voiced optimism he would eventually receive a bill he feels he can sign, but gave no indication of what kind of restrictions or conditions he might accept in negotiations with Democrats. A meeting was scheduled for Wednesday at the White House.

The president once again made clear there is at least one deal breaker--setting a deadline for pulling out U.S. troops. ``If the Congress wants to test my will as to whether or not I'll accept a timetable for withdrawal, I won't accept one,'' Bush said, indicating a willingness to continue vetoing bills if necessary.

It was another thorny foreign policy problem--how to stop North Korea's nuclear weapons program--that dominated the first U.S. summit between Bush and the new Japanese prime minister, a hawkish conservative who is the first Japanese leader born after World War II. Bush got along famously with Abe's more flamboyant predecessor Junichiro Koizumi, and officials on both sides were anxious to get the new relationship off to a good start: Abe brought gifts for Bush's dogs when he came to dinner at the White House on Thursday--tiny pillows with their names inscribed.

But more serious issues intruded. Japanese officials have been unhappy with Washington's recent policy shift, which engineered a new agreement in which North Korea agreed eventually to give up its nuclear weapons program in return for fuel aid and steps to normalizing relations with the United States and Japan.

Japanese skepticism of North Korea's willingness to abide by the plan has been fanned in recent weeks by the failure of Pyongyang to implement its first major requirement--shutting down its main nuclear facility. That was supposed to happen within 60 days of the Feb. 13 deal, but the deadline has been broken by two weeks--owing to a hang-up over resolving a separate dispute over frozen North Korean money at a Macau bank.

In talking with reporters through a translator Friday morning, Abe said he and Bush ``completely see eye to eye'' on North Korea, though his rhetoric seemed much sharper on Pyongyang than Bush. Abe said the North Koreans ``need to respond appropriately on these issues, otherwise we will have to take a tougher response on our side'' and bluntly warned that he is well aware of the ``negotiating ploys'' from Pyongyang.

For his part, Bush evinced continuing strong support of a nuclear deal that has been criticized by hawks in his own party, describing the impasse with North Korea as ``a bump in the road to getting them to honor their agreement.''

Bush said U.S. officials are trying to ``clarify'' for the North Koreans the financial arrangements for retrieving their frozen money, ``so that that will enable them to have no excuse for moving forward.'' As part of an effort to keep the nuclear agreement going, the administration recently reversed its position and permitted the North Koreans to access the money, $25 million, after accusing them of money-laundering.

``Our patience is not unlimited,'' Bush said, though he did not set a timetable for North Korea to comply. The president noted: ``We now have a structure in place to continue to provide a strong message to the North Koreans. We have the capability of more sanctions. We have the capability of convincing other nations to send a clear message.''

One senior administration official, who asked for anonymity so as not to upstage the president, said U.S. officials do not believe the nuclear deal with North Korea is unraveling despite its failure to shut down the reactor. He said ``the North continues to be clear with us that they are committed to this agreement'' and is only trying to sort out the issues over the frozen money first.

The official said there are not major differences between Bush and Abe on the nuclear issue--but said the Japanese prime minister did voice concerns to the president about whether North Korea will provide a full accounting of the Japanese citizens it has abducted. Japanese officials are worried that the United States might take North Korea off its official list of state sponsors of terrorism before there is such an accounting.

"It's his choice to make ultimately, not our choice, as to whether he honors the agreement he agreed to," Bush said of Kim Jong Il's role in negotiations over his country's nuclear weapons program.

The United States and its allies hope that Kim makes "the right choice for his country," Bush said. But, North Korea cannot continue to stall, the president pointed out.

"We've got a strategy to make sure that the pressure we have initially applied is even greater. That's our plan," Bush said.

Spain eyes to support Georgia to further develop its tourism, infrastructure and energy fields
Spain eyes to support Georgia to further develop its tourism, infrastructure and energy fields
CBI reacts to the German claim about INSTEX
CBI reacts to the German claim about INSTEX
Weekly review of Georgian capital markets (Jan.11 through Jan.15)
Weekly review of Georgian capital markets (Jan.11 through Jan.15)
Loading Bars
Latest
France's daily new COVID-19 infections at a more than six-week high
UK figure of daily new coronavirus cases drops further
Azerbaijani Foreign Minister meets with delegation of the Turkic Council, TURKSOY and Turkic Culture and Heritage Foundation
Spain eyes to support Georgia to further develop its tourism, infrastructure and energy fields
Sweden begins to administer second dose of COVID-19 vaccine
Canada to lift Boeing 737 MAX flight ban on January 20
CBI reacts to the German claim about INSTEX
Weekly review of Georgian capital markets (Jan.11 through Jan.15)
Trade balance between Azerbaijan and Turkey remains positive in 2020
Losses of JSC Georgian Railways increase
Kazakhstan boosts imports from Spain despite COVID-19 pandemic
Georgia makes investments in Kazakhstan's production of ferroalloys
Georgian FM meets Spanish officials in Madrid
Disneyland Paris delays reopening to April 2 due to COVID-19
Crime activity down in Azerbaijan
Kazakhstan discloses projects approved for financing within 'Almaty business-2025' program
Interior minister discloses number of crimes registered in Azerbaijan in 2020
Iran says won't accept new conditions within JCPOA
Azerbaijan names number of servicemen of Internal Troops of Interior Ministry who became martyrs
New memorandum between Azerbaijan and Turkey to be discussed
Azerbaijan shows footage from Alolar village of Kalbajar district (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Azerbaijan confirms 503 more COVID-19 recoveries
Gazprom reveals volume of gas imported by Georgia from Russia
Share of nuts, fruits, citrus peels in Azerbaijan's total export increases
Iranian Energy Exchange announces products to be on sale on January 19
Azerbaijan starts vaccination against coronavirus (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Turkish, Azerbaijani businessmen to carry out joint projects to revive Karabakh
Uzbekistan eyes increasing share of national currency in sovereign bonds
Roadmap for co-op on Lapis-Lazuli project signed
Azerbaijan's Central Bank to improve banking infrastructure in regions during 2021
Azerbaijan's SOCAR Polymer becomes largest importer in Russia
Iran’s Bahar Azadi gold coin price starts to fall
Georgia, Turkey discuss bilateral strategic partnership
Cargo turnover in Georgian ports decreases
Some statements by Armenian officials cause tension - Lavrov
Liberation of Azerbaijani territories forms new economic reality
Iran's Shazand Oil Refining Company opens tender to buy equipment
Volume of lending for Azerbaijani industrial and manufacturing sector increases
Investments in field railroad infrastructure between Turkmenistan, Spain can be implemented
Trilateral Statement on Karabakh has no secret clauses - Russian FM
Armenian side didn't provide lists of prisoners of war immediately and completely - Lavrov
Property appropriated by Georgian MFOs as payment of debts on loans down
Industrial enterprises put into operation in Iran's West Azerbaijan Province
Uzbekistan’s number of enterprises created in healthcare sector in 2020 revealed
Uzbekistan’s 2020 volume of remittances up
Uzbekistan plans to create wholesale electricity and gas market
Azerbaijan to be one of first countries to see COVID-19 pandemic's end - agency's chairman (PHOTO)
Preparatory work under completion in Azerbaijan’s Alley of Martyrs (PHOTO)
Significant number of currency exchange offices closes in Georgia
2021 begins with victories, says President of Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan's export of beverages nearly halves
CISCO eyes to apply smart lighting model in Baku
Let no-one think that they may have special privileges - President of Azerbaijan
War is over, Nagorno-Karabakh conflict consigned to history - President of Azerbaijan
Everything in liberated lands must be done in planned manner - President Aliyev
Main export-import data between Turkmenistan, Spain published
Amount of money saved in biotech field in Iran revealed
Air Arabia airline company returning to Georgian market
Restoration of the Karabakh region is high on my agenda - President of Azerbaijan
Industry, agriculture, non-oil sector, export opportunities, reduction of dependence on imports – all these factors created new reality today - President Aliyev
Azerbaijan's state agency talks current status of road construction to post-war Shusha (PHOTO)
Number of insignia awarded to Azerbaijan's transport workers in 2020 revealed
Kazakhstan decreases export of crude petroleum oils to Romania
Total speeds up renewables push with $2.5 billion investment in Indian solar power
Revenues of Georgian air navigation service provider down
Sale transactions in Georgia's real-estate sector may drop in Jan.-Feb. 2021
President Aliyev attends groundbreaking ceremony for two plants in Sumgayit Chemical Industry Park, inaugurates sheet glass factory (PHOTO)
Bombardier to overhaul Israel Railways carriages
Georgia may receive Pfizer vaccine in 1Q2021
Uzbekistan to receive Pfizer/Biotech vaccine against COVID-19
Iran’s Maskan Bank increases amount of loans issued in Zanjan Province
Analysts raise EU carbon price forecasts after bull run
COVID-19 vaccination may stabilize Azerbaijan's economy
Azerbaijan realizes most import operations via free convertible currency in 2020
Iran to fulfill commitments if JCPOA signatories return to negotiations - Atomic Energy Organization of Iran
USB cable manufacturing launched in Georgia
Azerbaijan records slight growth in 2020 export cargo railway freight
Iran expands manufacturing of equipment in oil sector
Iran reveals COVID-19 data for January 18
Georgia reveals volume of exported tangerines
Iran expects increase of trade with Syria
Vaccination from COVID-19 in Azerbaijan being carried out voluntarily
Turkmengas opens again tender for gas turbine compressor maintenance
German economy at risk of 'sizeable setback' if curbs extended - Bundesbank
Total passenger traffic by buses in Azerbaijan for 2020 disclosed
Kazakhstan boosts production of main precious metals year-on-year
Turkmen garment factory releases annual production data
Volume of foreign investments made in Iran's free trade zones announced
Iranian parliament's investigation of stock exchange, energy exchange dragging on
Kazakhstan reports drastic annual surge in international reserves
Azerbaijan's communication operator expands its coverage area (PHOTO)
Turkmen cotton-spinning factory names volume of output for 2020
Amazon to open two new hubs in Italy this year
Uzbekistan to introduce voluntary accreditation for medical organizations
Crypto currency mining in Iran requires transparency - local blockchain community
Kazakhstan sees increase in transporting cargo via internal waters
Companies based in Iran's Ardabil province ready to participate in restoration of Karabakh
Weekly review of main events of Azerbaijani transport sector
Uzbek currency rates for January 18
Devalued lari reduces microfinance market in Georgia
All news