US President George W. Bush may offer North Korean leader Kim Jong Il an official end to the Korean War as an incentive to persuade the communist country's leader to scrap his nuclear weapons program.
Bush said in a meeting with Chinese President Hu Jintao the US government „can announce an official end to the Korean War,” White House Press Secretary Tony Snow told reporters on Air Force One, traveling to Ho Chi Minh city from Hanoi yesterday, according to a transcript of his remarks. „Certainly, President Hu seemed to think that that was a good way to proceed.” The two leaders held a summit during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum that ended in Hanoi yesterday. Their countries, along with South Korea, Japan and Russia, are trying to persuade North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons program in return for security guarantees, financial and energy aid. North Korea agreed to return to the six-nation talks after a one-year stalemate.
Kim faced international condemnation following the country's July missile test and October nuclear test. The nuclear talks will resume early in December, US and South Korean officials have said. North and South Korea are still technically at war because the 1950-53 Korean War ended without a peace agreement. The US, not South Korea, signed the truce with North Korea in 1953. The leaders of the 21 APEC members yesterday called for „concrete and effective steps” toward resuming six-part talks on North Korea's nuclear program. South Korean Vice Foreign Minister Yu Myung Hwan warned on November 16, that the talks must yield concrete results or the credibility of the process could be „shattered.”
Bush is scheduled to meet Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono today in Bogor, where they will likely discuss expanding military links, terrorism in Southeast Asia and how Indonesia can help in resolving Middle East issues such as dealing with Iran's nuclear program and a settlement between Israel and the Palestinians. (Bloomberg)