The relationship between the United States and Korea continues to sour. On October 17, 2003, news reports stated that North Korea is hinting that it will test a nuclear weapon. A statement spread to the world and attributed to North Korea’s spokesman for the Foreign Ministry, said North Korea would “open its nuclear deterrent to the public as a physical force.” North Korea went on to show its continued disapproval of President Bush’s “axis-of-evil” statement in an announcement that Pyongyang, North Korea’s state-run news agency KCNA. The announcement claims that it is the “target of its [United States] pre-emptive nuclear attack. The North Korean government claims it will not abandon its nuclear weapon program without the United States signing a non-aggression treaty. If the United States turns its policy toward North Korea around, then it will not oppose dialog in order to settle the nuclear issue (North Korea Hints it May Test a Nuke).
Colin Powell, U.S. Secretary of State, has repeatedly warned North Korea that the country will not intimidate the United States. In an October trip to the area, President George W. Bush appears to favor this sentiment. For example, North Korea has placed demands such as the United States signing a non-invasion pact. In a statement, reported by Fox News, the President said, “that’s off the table.”
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