Bush Remains Skeptical about Kim Jong-Il
WASHINGTON -- U.S. President George W. Bush on Wednesday expressed his ``skepticism'' about North Korean leader Kim Jong-il and said that the U.S.
has no plan to immediately resume negotiations with Pyongyang on its missile program.
In a joint press conference after his summit with visiting President Kim Dae-jung at the Oval office, President Bush said, ``I have some skepticism about the leader of North Korea,'' although it would not preclude a Korea- U.S. effort to achieve the common objective of peace on the Korean peninsula.
Bush's remark contrasted with the strong support he expressed both in the press conference and in the summit joint statement for President Kim's reconciliation and cooperation effort to improve relations with the North.
From a broad prospective, however, it was in sync with hints of a tougher stance that have been made by Bush aides since his inauguration on Jan. 20.
``There is no question in my mind that the President of the Republic of Korea is a realist,'' he said. ``He knows exactly with whom we're dealing with. He is under no illusions.''
Kim Jong-il has been quite unpopular in the Bush administration, which advocates a more strict principle of reciprocity in dealing with the North.