P. S. Suryanarayana
SINGAPORE: U.S. President George W. Bush on Thursday warned N. Korea against any moves by it to "transfer ... nuclear weapons or materials ... to states or non-state entities."
Mr. Bush, who was delivering a foreign policy speech here, sought the cooperation of Asian powers to address this issue.
He said any such transfer "would be considered a grave threat to the United States." Washington "would hold North Korea fully accountable for the consequences of such action."
He said the regional nations too must send a message to this effect to N. Korea.
By placing this concern above Washington's earlier demand that North Korea "abandon its nuclear weapons programme," Mr. Bush signalled new priorities in his non-proliferation policy towards Pyongyang.
Without giving up the earlier demand, he said "America will work with our partners to enforce [the] sanctions" that the U.N. Security Council had imposed on North Korea following its nuclear-weapon test in October.
He said Pyongyang's recent decision to "come back to the table and re-start the six-party talks," was encouraging.
"If North Korea chooses a peaceful path, America and our partners in the six-party talks are prepared to provide security assurances, economic assistance and other benefits to the North Korean people."