The Corner

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WASHINGTON (AFP) — North Korea is unlikely to abandon its nuclear weapons before US President George W. Bush leaves office in January 2009, his special envoy said Thursday, calling for a revamp of six-party talks on the crisis.

Jay Lefkowitz, special envoy for human rights in North Korea, also accused China and South Korea of not exerting enough pressure on North Korea during the talks that first began in 2003 to end Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons drive.

“It is increasingly clear that North Korea will remain in its present nuclear status when the administration leaves office in one year,” he told a forum in Washington.

Using unusually sharp words, he said North Korea “has not kept its word,” was “not serious about disarming in a timely manner” and “its conduct does not appear to be that of a government that is willing to come in from the cold.”

Lefkowitz also accused Pyongyang of being a “serial proliferator” and using its nuclear arms to “extort” foreign aid, saying there was no guarantee that US military and nuclear strength could prevent it from passing on nuclear arms or technology to Islamists or their backers.

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