Bush urges tough line on North Korea sanctions

US president George Bush today urged a tough line in implementing UN sanctions against North Korea for its recent nuclear test at a Pacific Rim summit, where he is also pushing a US-backed proposal for a regional free-trade zone.

Bush's arrival in Hanoi - where he is only the second US president to visit since the Vietnam War ended in 1975 - sharpened the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation forum's focus on security issues such as North Korea, the war in Iraq and Iran's nuclear development.

"It's important for the world to see that the Security Council resolutions which were passed are implemented" against North Korea, Bush said. "So part of my discussions will be how we fully implement those sanctions that the world has asked for."

In meetings at Apec this week, the US, Japan and South Korea have been trying to co-ordinate strategy ahead of next month's expected resumption of six-party talks on North Korea's nuclear programme. The North announced it would end a boycott of the talks after its October 9 nuclear test.

The Apec forum also has been dominated by efforts to restart stalled world trade talks, a US-backed proposal to establish a Pacific Rim free-trade zone, and other issues such as global warming.

While Bush leads the most powerful member of Apec, his arrival in Hanoi failed to stir the excitement generated by predecessor Bill Clinton's 2000 visit. Bush's appearance drew mostly the curious rather than the devoted.

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