On North Korea, Bush charged that Kerry’s proposal to have direct talks with that country would end the six-nation diplomacy that the administration has pursued over Pyongyang’s nuclear ambitions. Kerry has said he would continue the six-party talks as well. Bush said direct talks with North Korea would drive away China, a key player in the negotiations.

But each of the other four countries in the talks has held direct talks with North Korea during the six-party process -— and China has repeatedly asked the Bush administration to talk directly with North Korea. Moreover, the Bush administration has talked directly with North Korean diplomats on the sidelines of the six-party talks, and Secretary of State Colin L. Powell met with his North Korean counterpart over the summer.

Related Links

For The Record: Few Factual Errors, but Truth at Times Got Stretched (Washington Post, Oct. 1)

North Korea Resists Talks on Nuclear Arms (Washington Post, Sept. 28)