World News

Bush, Japan reaffirm goal of denuclearized North Korea

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President George W. Bush and Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso reaffirmed their commitment to persuading North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons and related programs, the White House said on Saturday.

“The two leaders reaffirmed that the goal of the six-party talks is the verifiable denuclearization of the Korean peninsula in a peaceful manner and that all parties should continue to work towards the fulfilment of North Korea’s commitment to abandon all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs,” said White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe.

The two leaders spoke by telephone on Saturday morning and Bush also reaffirmed support for Japan on the abduction of its citizens by North Korea. He said Washington will push Pyongyang to abide by its commitments on the matter, Johndroe said.

The United States announced it would take North Korea off its terrorism blacklist amid faltering denuclearization talks in the final months of the Bush administration.

Reporting by Jeremy Pelofsky; Editing by Chris Wilson