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John Bolton Speech on North Korea,
Seoul, August 29
'North Korea: A Shared Challenge to the US and the ROK',
speech by John Bolton, US Undersecretary of State for Arms Control
and International Security, delivered to the Korean-American
Association, the Seoul Hilton, Seoul, South Korea, August
I am here representing Secretary Powell to reinforce, indeed
celebrate, the rock-solid alliance between the United States and
the Republic of Korea. We have stood with you shoulder-to-shoulder
in times of peace and war, as you have done with us. We will
continue to do so. As President Bush remarked last February during
his visit here: "America will stand firmly with our South Korean
allies. We will sustain our obligations with honor. Our forces and
our alliance are strong, and this strength is the foundation of
peace on the Peninsula." At that time, the President also thanked
the people of South Korea for their support in the US war on
terrorism in the aftermath of the tragic days of September 11.
Almost one year since we were attacked, your continued support in
the war on terrorism proves that our alliance is also regional and
global. Our cooperation in combating this evil is living testimony
to our shared values. ...
The Republic of Korea has blossomed as a democracy, as a cutting
edge high-tech economy, and as an example of impressive social
change, not only for Asia but in many ways for the world. ... In
sharp contrast, as the Secretary has said, North Korea is a
self-created and self perpetuated tragedy. For decades Pyongyang
has strangled its own economic development and starved its people
while building a massive military force armed with missiles and
weapons of mass destruction. Without sweeping restructuring to
transform itself and its relations with the world, the North's
survival is in doubt.
Recently, we have seen hopeful signs of potential change. The
revival of North-South dialog and the beginning of discussions with
Japan on steps that could lead toward normalization have captured
headlines. Perhaps even more importantly the DPRK has begun to
implement some initial steps at freeing prices and allowing private
markets to exist. Whether all this flows from their desperation or
their inspiration still is an open question. However, if such
reforms continue and expand, the future of the North Korean people
could be much brighter. As Secretary Powell has said, "The past
does not have to be the future for Pyongyang and its people. We
believe that the light of transformation can start to shine where
darkness currently prevails ... To move this process forward we
believe the North should quickly live up to its standing agreements
with the South - for example, extending a rail link to the South,
establishing free trade zones at Kaesong and elsewhere, as well as
reuniting separated family members." President Bush has repeatedly
emphasized that we support dialog between the North and the South.
He has also made clear that our deepest sympathies lie with the
oppressed and starving North Korean people, for whom we have
provided the largest amount of humanitarian assistance, this year
including 155,000 metric tons of grain.
The North must also begin implementing military confidence
building and tension reduction measures. Some 30 kilometers from
where I stand lies one of the most dangerous places on Earth - the
demilitarized zone. The 38th Parallel serves as a dividing line
between freedom and oppression, between right and wrong. The brave
forces of our two countries stand ready to defend against an evil
regime that is armed to the teeth, including with weapons of mass
destruction and ballistic missiles. It is a regime that has just a
few miles from Seoul the most massive concentration of tubed
artillery and rocketry on earth. We in America must always be
cognizant of this enormous conventional threat to the South and
especially to the people of your thriving capital.
Change in the North's diplomatic, economic, and security posture
is necessary, but not sufficient, for it to join the community of
nations. Today, perhaps our gravest concern is Pyongyang's
continuing development of weapons of mass destruction and exporting
the means to deliver them. I must say personally that this
administration has repeatedly put the North on notice that it must
get out of the business of proliferation. Nonetheless, we see few,
if any, signs of change on this front. Too frequently North Korea
acts as if the world will keep looking the other way.
Unfortunately, the global consequences of its proliferation
activities are impossible to ignore.
Since I am Secretary Powell's senior advisor on Arms Control and
International Security, let me provide a panoramic view of North
Korea's WMD activities - chemical, biological, and nuclear as well
as the export of missiles and missile technology - and thus explain
to you here in South Korea why we are so concerned and the nature
of the challenge I believe we face together.
In regard to chemical weapons, there is little doubt that North
Korea has an active program. This adds to the threat to the people
of Seoul and to the ROK-US frontline troops. Despite our efforts to
get North Korea to become a party to the Chemical Weapons
Convention, they have refused to do so. Indeed, dating back to
1961, when Kim Il-sung issued a public 'Declaration of
Chemicalization'- North Korea has flouted international norms. Both
of our governments recognize this threat. In a recent report to
Congress, the US government declared that North Korea "is capable
of producing and delivering via missile warheads or other munitions
a wide variety of chemical agents." A recent Defense White Paper
published by the South Korean government concurred, noting that
North Korea has a minimum of 2,500 tons of lethal chemicals, and
that North Korea is "exerting its utmost efforts to produce
The news on the biological weapons front is equally disturbing.
The governments of both the United States and South Korea are aware
that the North possesses an active bioweapons program. Indeed, at
times the North has flaunted it. In the 1980s, the North Korean
military intensified this effort as instructed by then-President
Kim Il-sung, who declared that "poisonous gas and bacteria can be
used effectively in war."
Both North and South Korea became signatories to the Biological
Weapons Convention in 1987, but only the South has lived up to its
commitments under this treaty. Just last month, your country made a
historic decision to go further and withdraw from the reservation
clause in the Geneva Protocol and wholly prohibit the use of
But what can be said of North Korea? The US government believes
that North Korea has one of the most robust offensive bioweapons
programs on earth. North Korea to date is in stark violation of the
Biological Weapons Convention. The United States believes North
Korea has a dedicated, national-level effort to achieve a BW
capability and that it has developed and produced, and may have
weaponized, BW agents in violation of the Convention. North Korea
likely has the capability to produce sufficient quantities of
biological agents within weeks of a decision to do so.
The North's Nuclear Weapons Program
Let's turn our attention now to the nuclear question. The US has
had serious concerns about North Korea's nuclear weapons program
for many years. In a recent report to Congress, the US Intelligence
Community stated that "North Korea has produced enough plutonium
for at least one, and possibly two nuclear weapons." Moreover,
"Pyongyang continued its attempts to procure technology worldwide
that could have application in its nuclear program."
It is true that North Korea has frozen plutonium production
activities at the Yongbyon facility as required by the Agreed
Framework of 1994 and has allowed a large number of spent fuel rods
that could otherwise be used to make nuclear weapons to be stored
safely under international supervision. Still these important steps
are only part of the agreement. Outstanding concerns remain. To
signal our concerns about these unresolved questions, President
Bush, for the first time since the signing of the Agreement in
1994, this year did not certify to the US Congress that North Korea
is in compliance with all provisions.
The fact is that North Korea has not begun to allow inspectors
with the International Atomic Energy Agency to complete all of
their required tasks. Many doubt that North Korea ever intends to
fully comply with its NPT obligations. Whatever one thinks, the
bottom line is that North has delayed for years bringing the
required safeguards agreement into force.
Pyongyang's record of the past 8 years does not inspire
confidence. It has gone so far as to demand compensation for lost
power generation, when its self-constructed barriers are largely to
blame for construction delays. If the North has nothing to hide,
then full cooperation with the IAEA, as required by its Safeguards
Agreement and under the Agreed Framework, should be an easy task.
Opening up to IAEA inspectors is the best way to remove suspicions
and ensure the delivery of the light water reactors in a timely
The math is simple. Earlier this month, concrete was poured at
Kumho, the facility where the light water reactors are to be built.
Construction of a significant portion of the first LWR is now
scheduled to be complete by May 2005, at which time the
construction schedule calls for delivery of controlled nuclear
components. The problem is that key nuclear components to power the
reactors cannot and will not be delivered until the IAEA
effectively accounts for North Korea's nuclear activities-past and
perhaps present. The IAEA estimates that these inspections will
take at least three to four years with full cooperation from North
Korea. It is now late summer 2002. Every day that the North fails
to allow unfettered IAEA inspections necessarily pushes back the
possible completion of the light water reactors.
Continued intransigence on the part of Pyongyang only begs the
question: What is North Korea hiding? The concerns of the
international community are only deepened by the clear discrepancy
between the amount of plutonium that may have been reprocessed at
the Yongbyon facility and the amount Pyongyang declared to the IAEA
in 1992. The IAEA declared the North's explanations inadequate. As
you recall, when the IAEA wanted to inspect waste sites in North
Korea in 1992 to help construct the history of the North's nuclear
program, the sites were deemed off-limits. If the North's IAEA
declarations were accurate, then why not allow verification to
The North could easily answer this question if it complied with
the IAEA inspections required under the NPT. In a notable step
backward just this past June, however, North Korea withdrew its
agreement to discuss the Verification of Completeness and
Correctness of the initial declaration of plutonium with the IAEA.
This must be changed. If the North is serious and not just using
delaying tactics, then it must let the IAEA do its job.
North Korea needs to fulfill its pledge to Seoul when it
committed itself to a nuclear free peninsula by signing the Joint
North-South Denuclearization Agreement of 1992. That accord
mandated random reciprocal inspections and committed both North and
South to a nuclear-free peninsula. The South has lived up to its
end of the bargain and the North has been handed a real opportunity
to improve the welfare of its people and stability on the
Peninsula. If the North is serious about peace and reconciliation,
then it will do the same.
North Korea's Global Missile Threat
In addition to its disturbing WMD activities, North Korea also
is the world's foremost peddler of ballistic missile-related
equipment, components, materials, and technical expertise. As the
CIA publicly reports: "North Korea has assumed the role as the
missile and manufacturing technology source for many programs.
North Korean willingness to sell complete systems and components
has enabled other states to acquire longer range capabilities." It
has an impressive list of customers spanning the globe from the
Middle East, South Asia to North Africa, with notable rogue-state
clients such as Syria, Libya and Iran.
President Bush's use of the term "axis of evil" to describe
Iran, Iraq, and North Korea was more than a rhetorical flourish -
it was factually correct. First, the characteristics of the three
countries' leadership are much the same: the leaders feel only they
are important, not the people. Indeed, in North Korea, the people
can starve as long as the leadership is well fed. Second, there is
a hard connection between these regimes -an "axis" - along which
flow dangerous weapons and dangerous technology.
Let us use the case of Iran. For some years now, North Korea has
provided Iran - arguably the most egregious state sponsor of
terror-with medium-range ballistic missiles known as No Dongs. Iran
has used this assistance and technology to strengthen its Shahab-3
program. The proliferation relationship may work in reverse, and
the fruits of this cooperation could be offered for sale on the
international market. Exports of ballistic missiles and related
technology are one of the North's major sources of hard currency,
which fuel continued missile development and production.
North Korea today faces a choice. If North Korea wants to have a
brighter future, it needs to fundamentally shift the way it
operates at home and abroad. After all, the Soviet Union had 30,000
nuclear warheads and in the end it still collapsed due to its own
Working in lockstep with our allies, South Korea and Japan, the
United States is prepared to take big steps to help the North
transform itself and move our relations toward normalcy. However,
our actions in large part will be incumbent on the DPRK's positive
movement across a number of fronts. Among other steps, we insist
that the North get out of the missile proliferation business. As
President Bush has said, "We cannot permit the world's most
dangerous regimes to export the world's most dangerous weapons."
Also, the North must open up to IAEA inspection and show that it is
committed to a nuclear free peninsula. This is what the Agreed
Framework was intended to achieve. If the DPRK fails to do so
promptly, the future of the Agreed Framework will be in serious
Last but certainly not least, simple decency demands that the
North alleviate the suffering and malnutrition of its citizens. To
help the people of North Korea, the US remains committed to the
World Food Program's operations in the DPRK. With much better
monitoring and access, we could do even more. But international
charity alone can't save the North Korean people from tragedy.
Economic and political transformation are vital.
During his visit in February to South Korea, President Bush made
our intentions clear. He stipulated that we have no intention of
invading North Korea. Rather, he said, "We're prepared to talk with
the North about steps that would lead to a better future, a future
that is more hopeful and less threatening." We continue to stand by
this offer of dialogue - anytime, anyplace.
Today, however, as President Bush stressed, the stability of the
Peninsula is built on the successful and strong alliance between
the ROK-US. No matter what the future holds, we will stand by the
government and people of South Korea.
Source: Text - Bolton Says North Korea Deserves 'Axis
of Evil' Title, US State Department (Washington File, August
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