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2007/06/05 23:39 KST
(LEAD) Bush vows to "never excuse" oppressors in countries like North Korea

WASHINGTON, June 5 (Yonhap) -- U.S. President George W. Bush, calling North Korea one of the world's worst dictatorship, said Tuesday his country "will never excuse" the oppressors.

   "People living in tyranny need to know they are not forgotten," he said in a speech in Prague where he was visiting for a G-8 summit.

   "North Koreans live in a closed society where dissent is brutally suppressed, and they are cut off from their brothers and sisters to the South."
The speech transcript was released in Washington.

   Bush recounted personal meetings with dissidents and activists. They came from "some of the world's worst dictatorships -- including Belarus, Burma, Cuba, North Korea, Sudan, and Zimbabwe," the president said.

   "My message to all those who suffer under tyranny is this: We will never excuse your oppressors, and we will always stand for your freedom."
Bush's comments come amid protracted stalemate in six-nation efforts for North Korea's denuclearization. In a 2002 State of the Union, he labeled Pyongyang regime a part of "axis of evil" and in following years called the North's top leader a dangerous man and a tyrant. He also had invited to the White House a former North Korean defector who wrote about the dire human rights conditions in the communist state.

   Bush used reference that has been rare for him, families divided between South and North Korea, to point to the nature of Pyongyang. Tens of thousands of Koreans live separated from family and kin, a legacy of the fratricidal 1950-1953 Korean War.

   The U.S. is one of the main players at what is called a six-party process aimed at denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, along with South and North Korea, China, Russia and Japan. Negotiations have stalled for months, complicated by a banking issue involving North Korea-related funds.