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North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il (far right). North Korea was singled out for criticism in the U.S. report (file photo) (AFP) March 16, 2006 -- U.S. President George W. Bush today said Iran may pose the greatest challenge to the United States.


Bush, in a 49-page national security report, branded countries like Iran, North Korea, Syria, Cuba, and Belarus as "tyrannies." The report warned that tyrannies that seek weapons of mass destruction threaten the "immediate security interests" of the United States.


The document also said that North Korea "presents a long and bleak record of duplicity and bad-faith negotiations."


The president reaffirmed the preemptive policy he first outlined in 2002. Bush said "the place of preemption in our national security strategy remains the same."


The document, however, said diplomacy remains the U.S. preference in halting the spread of nuclear weapons.


The report, Bush's second since becoming president, sums up his administration's strategy to protect the United States and improve U.S. relations with other countries.


In the report, Bush said recent trends in Russia show a waning commitment to democratic freedoms and institutions.


The United States also is urging China to continue down a road of reform and openness.


(compiled from agency reports)

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