Bush tells Asia-Pacific gathering that democracy is key to fighting terrorism.
The conflict divided Korea into North and South.
While the tone remained playful on the surface, Bush made a firm response: “I can’t make it any more clear, Mr President. We look forward to the day when we can end the Korean war. That will happen when Kim Jong-il verifiably gets rid of his weapons programmes and his weapons.”
Under a February deal, North Korea agreed to give up its nuclear programmes. In return, Washington agreed to open talks on normalising relations with the North and look into removing a terrorism designation for Pyongyang.
North Korea shut down its main nuclear reactor in July, and US officials say Pyongyang has agreed to disable its nuclear programmess by the end of 2007. But Washington is suspicious the North may go back on its word.
In Friday’s other developments, Bush talked to Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, about a planned US missile defence shield in Eastern Europe.
|“We look forward to the day when we can end the Korean war. That will happen when Kim Jong-il verifiably gets rid of his weapons programmes and his weapons”
Putin, who opposes the plan, said that the two presidents agreed on a fresh meeting between the countries’ technical experts to discuss a Russian-backed alternative for a joint system.
In a speech to business leaders, the US president defended his policies in Iraq and urged Asia-Pacific nations to keep up the fight against “terrorism”.
The summit, that formally starts on Saturday, is expected to focus on climate change and Bush used his speech on Friday to call for greater co-operation on the issue.
Bush acknowledged that some countries feared the US was trying to construct a successor to the UN’s Kyoto Protocol outside of international efforts already under way.
“We agree these issues must be addressed in an integrated way,” he said.
“We take climate change seriously in America.”
The US has called for a September 27-28 conference in Washington of the 15 biggest polluters. A broader conference will be held at the UN in New York on September 24.