By Lee Chi-dong
WASHINGTON, Oct. 10 (Yonhap) -- Mitt Romney, the U.S. Republican presidential candidate, supports the six-party talks on North Korea's nuclear program but he wants Pyongyang to stop misusing the often-troubled negotiations, a senior foreign policy adviser to the former Massachusetts governor said Wednesday.
"Well, his (Romney's) concern is not to let the North Korean nuclear program proceed," Dov S. Zakheim, special adviser on foreign policy and national security for the Romney campaign, told Yonhap News Agency.
He was emerging from a debate here on the national security agenda for this year's presidential elections, slated for Nov. 6, in which Romney is apparently staging a neck-and-neck race with President Barack Obama.
"So, you know, we've gotta watch that very, very closely and make sure that the North Koreans don't exploit these talks in order to increase their arsenal," added Zakheim, formerly a ranking Pentagon official.
When asked whether Romney does not support the six-party talks, he tersely responded, "No. Who said that? Of course he supports the talks."
His comments were one of the clearest expressions of the Romney camp's view on the talks, which have been stalled for more than three years.
With voters' attention focused on the economy and other domestic issues, neither candidate spends much time on the trail discussing national security.
Romney sometimes has talked about economic disparity between the two Koreas, but he has not gone into details of his policy vision for the Korean Peninsula.
The six-way talks, launched in 2003, involve the two Koreas, the U.S., China, Russia and Japan.
Critics accuse North Korea of having followed a pattern of gaining political and economic concessions from its dialogue partners and returning to provocative acts to increase bargaining chips.
In the debate session, meanwhile, Zakheim cited the 1950-53 Korean War in criticizing the Obama administration's defense strategy.
He argued that a war occurs when an enemy finds holes in a security posture, as shown in the case of the so-called "Acheson Line."
North Korea was tempted to invade the South as the U.S. indicated that it was not within its defense boundary.
He was referring to an address in January 1950 by then-U.S. Secretary of State Dean Acheson, in which he suggested that South Korea and Taiwan were outside the U.S. defensive perimeter.
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