An interesting exchange between CNN's Suzanne Malveaux and Bush about North Korea from last week.
Q Mr. President, if I could follow up, you say diplomacy takes time --
THE PRESIDENT: Yes, it does.
Q -- but it was four years ago that you labeled North Korea a member of the "axis of evil." And since then it's increased its nuclear arsenal, it's abandoned six-party talks and now these missile launches --
THE PRESIDENT: Let me ask you a question. It's increased it's -- that's an interesting statement: "North Korea has increased its nuclear arsenal." Can you verify that?
Q Well, intelligence sources say -- if you can -- if you'd like to dispute that, that's fine.
THE PRESIDENT: No, I'm not going to dispute, I'm just curious.
Q Our intelligence sources say that it's increased the number -- its nuclear capability --
THE PRESIDENT: -- dangerous -- it has potential danger.
Q It's increased is nuclear capabilities. It's abandoned six-party talks, and it's launched these missiles.
THE PRESIDENT: Yes.
Q Why shouldn't Americans see the U.S. policy regarding North Korea as a failed one?
THE PRESIDENT: Because it takes time to get things done.
Q What objective has the U.S. government achieved when it comes to North Korea? And why does the administration continue to go back to the same platform process if it's not effective in changing North Korea's behavior? Thank you.
THE PRESIDENT: Suzanne, these problems didn't arise overnight, and they don't get solved overnight. It takes a while. Again, I think if you look at the history of the North Korean weapons program, it started probably in the '80s. We don't know -- maybe you know more than I do -- about increasing the number of nuclear weapons. My view is we ought to treat North Korea as a danger, take them seriously. No question that he has signed agreements and didn't stick by them. But that was done during -- when we had bilateral negotiations with him, and it's done during the six-party talks.
You've asked what we've done. We've created a framework that will be successful. I don't -- my judgment is, you can't be successful if the United States is sitting at the table alone with North Korea. You run out of options very quickly if that's the case. In order to be successful diplomatically, it's best to have other partners at the table. You ask what we've done. We got the six-party talks started. And that's a positive development. It's a way to solve this problem diplomatically.
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