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APEC Meeting and North Korea

所属教程:In the News 更新:10-25
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This is Steve Emberwith the VOA Special English program In The News.

Leaders from many nations are attending the Asia-Pacific EconomicCooperation conference in the holiday area of Cabo San Lucas,Mexico.

Graphic Image
Graphic Image

APEC was established innineteen-eighty-nine as a trade group for the nations of Asia andthe Americas. It was formed in reaction to the growing dependencyamong economies of countries that border the Pacific Ocean. Its goalwas to support economic growth among those countries and to create asense of community. APEC has twenty-one member economies. Thecombined population of APEC countries is abouttwo-and-one-half-thousand-million people. The countries areresponsible for almost half of all world trade.

APEC foreign and trade ministers started talks earlier this week.On Thursday, the foreign ministers approved a joint statement thatpromised to suppress the financing of terrorism. The statement alsopromised to strengthen security for air travel and shipping ofgoods.

President Bush and leaders of other APEC countries are meetingthis weekend. Reports say Mister Bush will be trying to gain supportfor his campaigns against terrorism and its supporters and againstIraq. APEC leaders also are expected to discuss the latest situationinvolving North Korea.

Earlier this month, the United States announced that North Koreahad admitted it is secretly developing nuclear weapons. Theadmission reportedly came during talks between a high level NorthKorean official and an American special diplomat. The diplomatreportedly had presented the official with American intelligenceevidence about the suspected weapons program.

A North Korean nuclear weapons program would violate an agreementbetween the two countries. In nineteen-ninety-four, North Koreaagreed to halt its suspected weapons program. In exchange, theUnited States said it would provide North Korea with nuclear powerreactors and supplies of heating fuel.

North Korea says it does not believe the United States hashonored the agreement. Experts say North Korea considered theagreement a promise by the United States to end hostile relationsand establish normal relations. And, experts say that therelationship between the two countries has worsened in the last twoyears.

North Korea says it wants new talks with the United States aboutthe agreement. On Tuesday, North Korean officials threatened to takestrong action if the United States would not agree to negotiations.However, North Korea did not say what form such action would take.

The Bush administration has suggested that the issue can besettled through diplomatic action. But, administration officialshave not answered the call for talks. They say the United Stateswill decide what steps to take after APEC leaders discuss the issue.

This VOA Special English program In The News was written by CatyWeaver. This is Steve Ember.

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