WASHINGTON - A rare foreign policy success for the Bush administration is imploding as North Korea backs away from pledges to abandon nuclear weapons, pretty much as the president's critics on the right had warned.
Distracted by an economic crisis at home and a series of diplomatic setbacks abroad, President Bush and his top aides are watching the collapse of a painstakingly negotiated process that just months ago seemed on track to produce a major international success and perhaps bring a final end to the Korean War before they leave office.
With time running out on the administration and questions about the health of dictator Kim Jong Il, North Korea has stopped cooperating with the six-nation effort to rid it of atomic bombs and is moving to restart a reactor it disabled with great fanfare in June. It has also tested a missile engine in violation of U.N. sanctions, officials sa
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