An item in the Dec. 17 Washington in Brief incorrectly reported the amount the White House plans to spend on a prescription drug plan for seniors as more than $190 million. The amount is more than $190 billion. (Published 12/18/02)

U.S. Not Planning Attack

On N. Korea, Powell Says

As North Korea warns that the Korean peninsula is on the "verge of war," Secretary of State Colin L. Powell said yesterday the United States has no plans to attack that country. To the extent a war threat exists, he said, North Korea is to blame.

Powell rejected a demand by Pyongyang for a nonaggression treaty and insisted that it fulfill promises to forgo nuclear weapons.

"The United States will not enter into dialogue in response to threats or broken commitments. We will not bargain or offer inducements for North Korea to live up to the treaties and agreements it has signed," Powell said.

North Korea renewed its demand for a nonaggression pact as the United States and Japan opened high-level talks on Asian security issues and other subjects.

With Powell sitting at her side at a news conference, Japanese Foreign Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi agreed with Powell that North Korea must dismantle its nuclear weapons programs.

North Korea's official newspaper, Rodong Sinmun, said, "Now the situation of the Korean Peninsula is on the verge of war. The only way to prevent a catastrophic crisis of a war . . . is to conclude a nonaggression treaty between North Korea and the U.S. at an early date."

Powell said he does not believe another war on the Korean peninsula is near.

Army to Call Up Reservists

To Guard Air Force Bases

The Army announced it will call about 9,000 part-time Reserve and National Guard troops to active duty to help guard 163 Air Force bases and installations in the United States.

The call-up is under an agreement reached between the two services to allow large numbers of Air Force reservists to return to private life after more than a year of active duty sparked by the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.

There are already more than 50,000 reserve members of all military services on active duty, as part of a series of calls to provide homeland security and prepare for a possible war with Iraq.

Bush, House Leaders Discuss Prescription Plan for Seniors

House leaders met with President Bush yesterday to begin developing a prescription drug plan for seniors.

Commerce Committee Chairman W.J. "Billy" Tauzin (R-La.), who attended the session, said Bush pledged to spend substantially more than the $190 million he allotted last year.

"The president is going to put some real numbers in the budget," Tauzin said. "He wants to put this issue to bed. He wants to sign a bill."

Bush also told lawmakers any drug plan would also include Medicare reform, though he didn't specify how he would change the program.

-- Compiled from reports by staff writer Juliet Eilperin, the

Associated Press and Reuters