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US Eyes "Managed Pressure" on N. K.
If China Fails to Make P'yang to Return to 6-Way Talks
North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il

The United States is contemplating putting broader international 'managed pressure' on North Korea if China fails to convince the North to return to the six-party talks on its nuclear ambitions, Kyodo News reported on Monday.

In a dispatch from Washington D.C., the Japanese news agency reported that the new strategy would broaden international cooperation, now led by the United States and Japan, by bringing China, South Korea, Taiwan and others into efforts to cut off North Korea's sources of income by cracking down on its drug trafficking, counterfeiting and other illicit activities, and preventing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

The managed pressure is also aimed at expanding the scope of the crackdown on such activities as money laundering in Hong Kong and Taiwan.

Kyodo quoted the sources as saying that fake Marlboro cigarettes believed to be made by North Korea were recently found in Japan and that the United States is also paying close attention to these kinds of illicit activities.

But the administration of President George W. Bush intends to prioritize the ongoing diplomatic efforts to get the six-party talks back on track. Pyongyang declared Feb. 10 that it has nuclear weapons and is pulling out of the talks indefinitely.

The administration is closely watching to see what will happen during Saturday's visit to Pyongyang by Wang Jiarui, head of the Chinese Communist Party's International Liaison Department.

But a senior U.S. administration official said, ‘‘it's not clear that the Chinese are very optimistic...and so it's hard to predict when the six-party talks might begin again.'

Even China has told the United States that it was 'completely surprised' by the North Korean statement, the official said on condition of anonymity.

The Bush administration is not considering 'at this point' whether to refer the issue to the U.N. Security Council, but will have to discuss the matter with China, Japan, South Korea and Russia — the other parties to the six-party talks — if North Korea's boycott is prolonged.

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