In negotiations with North Korea this week, the Bush administration has for the first time presented the country with specific evidence behind American allegations that North Korea secretly obtained uranium enrichment technology from a founder of Pakistan's nuclear program, two senior administration officials said.There is little faith in the word of North Korea and denial of the obvious will not enhance that faith. The Norks are going to have to demonstrate good faith before there can be a viable agreement.
The decision to share the intelligence with North Korean negotiators, the officials said, was part of an effort to convince North Korea that any discussions about disarmament must cover not only the nuclear weapons program it has boasted about, but a second one that it now denies exists.
Putting on the table the evidence that North Korea obtained technology from the network built by Abdul Qadeer Khan is significant because it is an effort to break an impasse over the scope of North Korea's nuclear program.
American officials were reluctant to describe the North Korean response, but one official said that when presented with the evidence - chiefly the testimony of Mr. Khan - "they argue with us about it."
American officials have never made public the details of Mr. Khan's statements to Pakistani officials, who have declined to make him available for direct interrogation. But they have shared the information widely with Asian allies, and elements of it have leaked out, including Mr. Khan's assertion - doubted by several specialists in the American intelligence community - that the North Koreans once showed him what they said were three fully assembled nuclear weapons.