Leaders of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Forum urged North Korea to dismantle its nuclear weapons program. Presenting a united front, leaders from APEC's 21 member countries issued a statement read out during a private session, the <i>Financial Times</i> reported. The US had wanted a formal published statement. "What was important was the leaders of APEC coming together in a common statement," US National Security Council official David McCormick told the newspaper. The issue of a nuclear-armed North Korea appeared to take precedence over the goal of the talks to encourage economic integration in the region, but the meeting did result in an agreement to study the possibility of turning APEC into a giant tariff-cutting agreement.