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Bush wasted 6 years on N Korea: claim

WASHINGTON, Oct. 10 (UPI) -- North Korea's claimed nuclear test Sunday capped six years of failure by the Bush administration, a U.S. think tank said Tuesday.

"By virtually every measure, Bush's North Korea policy has been a failure," the Center for American Progress, a think tank headed by President Bill Clinton's former chief of staff John Podesta said Tuesday.

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When the current president took office, "North Korea had produced enough plutonium under President George H.W. Bush for 1-2 nuclear weapons. Today, the country possesses material for 4-13 nuclear weapons. If North Korea unloads another batch of fuel, it may have enough nuclear material for 8 to 17 nuclear bombs by 2008," the CAP said in a statement.

"Sunday's test was simply the culmination of the "Bush administration's haphazard diplomacy in Northeast Asia over the past six years," said the CAP's Joseph Cirincione, an expert on non-proliferation issues.

Cirincione said that the Bush administration had failed to produce a strong and consistent policy on North Korea because of an "internal argument about whether to negotiate with the country or try to plot its collapse."

The CAP said the current president and his team "ramped up the rhetoric" about North Korea and included it in an "axis of evil" with Iraq and Iran in the president's 2002 State of the Union address. However, "When North Korea responded by expelling international inspectors and unsealing its nuclear facilities, the Bush administration had no effective response," the CAP said.

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