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US Statement & Press Conference at CD, January 24

Statement by John Bolton

Statement by John R. Bolton, US Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, to the Conference on Disarmament, Geneva, January 24.

Permit me to outline to this body, the world's oldest multilateral arms control negotiating forum, the fundamental elements of the Bush Administration's security policy. Our timing is particularly opportune. The September 11 terrorist attacks have made all too clear the grave threats to civilized nations that come from terrorists who strike without warning, their state sponsors, and rogue states that seek weapons of mass destruction. We must defend our homelands, our forces, and our friends and allies against these threats. And we must insist on holding accountable states that violate their non-proliferation commitments.

The fight against terrorism will remain a top international security priority. As President Bush said: "Our lives, our way of life, and our every hope for the world depend on a single commitment: The authors of mass murder must be defeated, and never allowed to gain or use the weapons of mass destruction." The United States and its partners in this fight will meet this threat with every method at our disposal.

Above all, we are acting to end state sponsorship of terror. The United States believes that with very few exceptions, terrorist groups have not acquired and cannot acquire weapons of mass destruction without the support of nation-states. This support might be technical assistance. It might be funding. Perhaps such assistance has taken the form of simply turning a blind eye to terrorist camps within one's borders. But the fact that governments, which sponsor terrorist groups, also are pursuing chemical, biological, nuclear, and missile programs is alarming, and cannot be ignored.

Nations that assist terror are playing a dangerous game. As President Bush stated to a joint session of the US Congress last fall: "We will pursue nations that provide aid or safe haven to terrorism. Every nation, in every region, now has a decision to make. Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists. From this day forward, any nation that continues to harbor or support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile regime."

If the September 11 terrorist attacks taught the United States nothing else, it taught us not to underestimate the intentions and capabilities of rogue states and terrorist groups. We will not be complacent to the threat of any kind of attack on the United States, especially from weapons of mass destruction, whether chemical, biological, nuclear, or from missiles.

Chemical Weapons

On chemical weapons, the United States is alarmed by the continuing spread of dangerous technology to countries pursuing illegal programs. The United States is a strong proponent of the Chemical Weapons Convention, which provides several useful tools to combat chemical warfare programs. The United States has made effective use of the consultation provision of Article IX of the Convention to address our questions and compliance concerns. To date, we have conducted several visits at the invitation of other States Parties in a cooperative effort to resolve these questions and compliance concerns. In many cases, this has proven to be highly successful.

The United States will continue to use such consultation mechanisms to enhance verification and promote full compliance with the provisions of the Convention. Although bilateral consultations are not a prerequisite for launching a challenge inspection, the United States believes that challenge inspections may in some cases be the most appropriate mechanism for resolving compliance concerns.

Some States Parties have sought erroneously to characterize the challenge inspection process as tantamount to an abuse of political power. On the contrary, challenge inspections were included as a fundamental component of the CWC verification regime that benefits all States Parties, both as a deterrent to would-be violators and as a fact-finding tool to address compliance concerns. They are a flexible and indispensable tool that, if viewed realistically and used judiciously, can be instrumental in achieving the goals of the Chemical Weapons Convention. I caution those nations that are violating the Chemical Weapons Convention: You should not be smug in the assumption that your chemical warfare program will never be uncovered and exposed to the international community.

Biological Weapons

On biological weapons, the United States made its position crystal clear at the Fifth Review Conference of the Biological Weapons Convention late last year: we will not condone violation of the BWC. We flatly oppose flawed diplomatic arrangements that purport to strengthen the BWC but actually increase the specter of biological warfare by not effectively confronting the serious problem of BWC noncompliance. It is for this reason that the United States rejected the draft protocol to the Biological Weapons Convention and the continuance of the BWC Ad Hoc Group and its mandate, and offered an alternate way ahead.

Regarding the BWC protocol, the United States was urged to go along with this proposal because it was "flawed, but better than nothing." After an exhaustive evaluation within the US Government, we decided that the protocol was actually counterproductive. New approaches and new ways of thinking are needed to prevent the proliferation of biological weapons.

The United States presented a number of new proposals to do just this, including tightened national export controls, fully implementing the BWC by nationally criminalizing activity that violates it, intensified non-proliferation activities, increased domestic preparedness and controls, enhanced biodefense and counter-bioterrorism capabilities, and innovative measures against disease outbreaks. Many, if not all of these measures can begin to be implemented now. We look forward to discussing and refining them with all of you and hope that you will join us in endorsing and beginning to implement them as we prepare for the resumption of the BWC Review Conference next November.

Nuclear Weapons

On nuclear weapons, the United States recently completed a Nuclear Posture Review, the basic conclusions of which have recently been made public. Fundamental to this review is the assumption that the United States and Russia are no longer adversaries, and, therefore, that such Cold War notions as mutual assured destruction are no longer appropriate as the defining characteristic of our strategic relationship. Accordingly, President Bush has announced that the United States will reduce its strategic nuclear force to a total of between 1,700 and 2,200 operationally deployed strategic warheads over the next ten years. President Putin has made a similarly bold and historic decision with respect to Russian strategic nuclear forces.

Given the new relationship between Moscow and Washington, the specter of nuclear war between the United States and the Russian Federation is now a comfortingly remote possibility. More likely is the possibility of the use of nuclear or radiological weapons by rogue states or terrorist groups. We are also currently faced with dangerously-high tensions in south Asia between India and Pakistan, both of which have nuclear explosive devices.

The proliferation of nuclear materials and technology is a serious threat to international security. The International Atomic Energy Agency's nuclear inspection system must be reinforced, as we press others to adopt strengthened IAEA safeguards designed to detect clandestine nuclear activities. The United States continues to emphasize the importance of universal adherence to, as well as full compliance with and implementation of, the NPT and comprehensive safeguards. Countries such as North Korea and Iraq must cease their violations of the NPT and allow the IAEA to do its work. Further, I caution those who think that they can pursue nuclear weapons without detection: the United States and its allies will prove you wrong.

And let me reiterate US policy on nuclear weapons proliferation: the United States regards the proliferation of nuclear weapons technology as a direct threat to international security, and will treat it accordingly. The same holds true for nations that traffic in deadly chemical and biological weapons technology, and missile systems.


Almost every state that actively sponsors terror is known to be seeking weapons of mass destruction and the missiles to deliver them at longer and longer ranges. Their hope is to blackmail the civilized world into abandoning the war on terror. They want the United States and others to forsake their friends and allies and security commitments around the world. September 11 reinforced our resolve to build a limited missile defense shield to defend our nation, friends, forces and interests against missile attacks from rogue states and terrorist organizations who wish to destroy civilized society.

It is an undeniable fact that the United States simply has no defense against a missile attack on our homeland. While we do have defenses against shorter-range missiles, we have none against even a single missile launched against our cities. We must fill this void in our defenses. As a result, we announced last month our decision to withdraw from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. This was an important decision for the Bush Administration and was made in close consultations with Moscow. Although our Russian friends did not agree with our withdrawal decision, the world is aware of the close and growing relationship between our two nations. Our new strategic relationship is much broader than the ABM Treaty, as evidenced by the announcement by both the United States and Russia that we will reduce our offensive nuclear arsenals to the lowest levels in decades.

We are also concerned about the spread of missile technology that may not threaten the United States at this time, but poses serious threats to our friends and allies, as well as to deployed US forces. Too many nations are remiss in not controlling their involvement in the proliferation of missile technology. We are aware of a long list of missile proliferation activities by enterprises from at least a dozen nations. Most of these transactions are serious, and could result in US sanctions, as has been done several times over the past year. The United States calls on all countries to control missile-related transfers and ensure that private companies operating within their borders cease illegal missile transactions.

President Bush has made clear the imperative of restructuring deterrence and defense capabilities to formulate a comprehensive strategy to enhance our security. This strategy must include strengthening non-proliferation measures (prevention), more robust counter-proliferation capabilities (protection), and a new concept of deterrence, relying more on missile defense and less on offensive nuclear forces.

In this context, the security and well being of the United States and its allies depend on the ability to operate in space. America is committed to the exploration and use of outer space by all nations for peaceful purposes for the benefit of humanity - purposes that allow defense and intelligence-related activities in pursuit of national security goals. We remain firmly committed to the Outer Space Treaty, and we believe that the current international regime regulating the use of space meets all our purposes. We see no need for new agreements.

Future of the Conference on Disarmament

This point leads me to touch briefly on the future of this body, the Conference on Disarmament. If it remains deadlocked in futility, it will continue to lose credibility and the attention of the world. To be productive and contribute to international security, the CD must change the way it does business. It must focus on new threats, such as efforts by terrorist groups to acquire weapons of mass destruction. It must squarely face the serious problem of violations of weapons of mass destruction non-proliferation regimes and treaties. Finally, in order to perform a useful function, the CD must put aside irreconcilable differences and work on issues that are ready for negotiation, such as a Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty. ...

I have one personal favor to ask the distinguished delegates in this room. It has become fashionable to characterize my country as "unilateralist" and against all arms control agreements. Nonetheless, our commitment to multilateral regimes to promote non-proliferation and international security never has been as strong as it is today, through numerous arms control treaties and non-proliferation arrangements, including the NPT, CFE, CWC, BWC, LTBT, PNET, and the TTBT, as well as to non-proliferation regimes like the Zangger Committee, the NSG, MTCR, the Wassenaar Arrangement and the Australia Group. In fact, trying to characterize our policy as "unilateralist" or "multilateralist" is a futile exercise. Our policy is, quite simply, pro-American, as you would expect.

The main emphasis of the Bush Administration's arms control policy is the determination to enforce existing treaties, and to seek treaties and arrangements that meet today's threats to peace and stability, not yesterday's. Fundamental to the Bush Administration's policy is the commitment to honor our arms control agreements, and to insist that other nations live up to them as well. Now is the time for the CD to build on its achievements to forge additional restraints against the spread of weapons of mass destruction. ...

Source: Text - Bolton Calls for Stronger Curbs on Weapons of Mass Destruction, US State Department (Washington File), January 24.

Press Conference by John Bolton

Press Conference by John Bolton, Geneva, January 24.

Question: If I could ask your view on CTBT, which you didn't make any reference to today. Do you feel that CTBT is still viable in the current context of the world? Does the US have any plans at all - two years, three years, five years from now - to resume testing?

John Bolton: As President Bush said during the 2000 Presidential election campaign, he opposes the CTBT and we have no plans to seek Senate action on it as part of the nuclear posture review the Department of Defense recently concluded that there was a decision to try and upgrade our testing infrastructure so as to make it possible to test in a relatively earlier time if a decision were made. This has been widely misunderstood. I'd appreciate the opportunity to correct it. We are going to continue to follow the moratorium on testing that President Bush announced. This is simply one way of being able to reduce the level of operational nuclear warheads with some feeling of assurance that if the strategic circumstances in the world change dramatically and a decision were made sometime down the road we'd be in a better position in terms of our testing and research infrastructure than we are now. We continue to review the safety and reliability of the current stock of warheads. That's something that's very high priority for the Department of Defense and the Department of Energy, to be sure that the deterrent remains safe and reliable for ourselves and our allies. But, as I say, we have no plans to seek Senate action on the Treaty.

Question: Could you elaborate more on what you said in your statement on the Iraqi case concerning violations of NPT?

John Bolton: I think it's very clear in the three years since Iraq has completely excluded the UN Weapons Inspectors that they've been making efforts with respect to a number of weapons of mass destruction including attempting to acquire a capability in nuclear weapons. That's one obvious violation of their NPT commitments. That's one of the reasons why we have tried for so long to get the UN Inspectors back into Iraq. The head of UNMOVIC, Hans Blix, the former head of IAEA, was just in Washington to meet with Secretary Powell and others, including myself. The problem with Iraq and its resistance to resolution 687 and its unwillingness to comply with its international obligations, remains a very serious issue for the US and I think for everyone.

Question: On biological weapons, I'd like to come back to the argument that you considered the BWC protocol flawed and counterproductive but then the US will present a number of new proposals which will focus on national export controls, nationally criminalizing activity and things like that. How much more productive could that be if you leave it to the nations concerned including the rogue states relying on their good will to do all this, especially since you said in a recent speech in Washington, if I am not mistaken, that this disarmament conference is like a get together of the police and the Mafia trying to discuss a safer world.

John Bolton: I think I said "to discuss their shared interest in law enforcement" actually, something like that. The measures that you referred to that I elaborated in the speech have already been presented. We began to consult with our friends and allies on them last summer in the run up to the BWC RevCon in November and I might say that we thought that they enjoyed very widespread support and hoped that had the RevCon come to a conclusion it would have endorsed them. I don't think that they alone solve the fundamental problem of non-compliance with the BWC, which is one of the reasons that we felt that the draft protocol that had been under negotiation was counterproductive. I think it diverted people's attention from what the real issue was. The real issue is that while the overwhelming majority of states are in compliance with the BWC, there are a number that simply have lied about the commitments that they have undertaken. I think it is one of our priorities to insist on compliance with international obligations that nations have undertaken and by focusing on the issue of non-compliance you can more precisely see just exactly where the problem is. And looking at the states that are in violation of the BWC and are seeking other forms of weapons of mass destruction, it is striking to see the coincidence between that list of nations and the list of nations that are states sponsors of terrorism in the more conventional sense. So I think we have a fairly discrete group of countries that are both pursuing weapons of mass destruction and have been aiding international terrorism and I think that as part of the global campaign against terrorism, as President Bush has made clear, we are going to be addressing that in the months and years ahead.

Question: You've made reference to Iraq and North Korea but no reference to Iran. What's the reason for that? You say that the US insists on holding accountable states that violate the non-proliferation commitments. What sort of accountability structure do you have in mind?

John Bolton: This is like déjà vu all over again: why did you name those two countries and not several others, just as we had this discussion at the time of the Biological Weapons Convention Review Conference. The cases of Iraq and North Korea I think are particularly important now because they are the subject of not just the NPT Treaty Commitments, but other International commitments, the Agreed Framework in the case of North Korea and the series of the UN resolutions in the case of Iraq, which are intended to bring ultimately both those countries in compliance. They're countries that are both subjected to additional enforcement mechanisms, if you will, in addition simply to their underlying commitments under the NPT. There is no doubt that there are other countries that are also in violation of the NPT. But for the purpose of today's conference I wanted to stress those two because of the particular circumstances that I just mentioned. All I can say, in terms of naming other ones, stay tuned, I'm sure their time will come.

Question: And the accountability structure?

John Bolton: What we are trying to do is make clear that if you focus on non-compliance with existing treaty obligations, there ought to be ways, whether through our own action, through actions with like-minded governments, or coalitions of the willing, to make it clear to violators of the various arms control agreements that we are not simply going to allow the behavior to continue. Now I don't mean to indicate that there are specific plans in mind, but what I do mean to say is that the time in which countries could sign an international agreement like the Biological Weapons Convention and lie about their performance under it, and get away with it, hopefully is over.

Question: Two specific questions. First your comments on CTBT. With the CTBT being dead and with the US now going slower, completely silent on this, will FMCT negotiations have any teeth? Would parties to the CD take FMCT talks seriously when the US is no longer interested in CTBT. Second question: what do you mean by civilized nations?

John Bolton: I think that the merits of an FMCT treaty stand on their on. I don't think they are linked to CTBT, and I think as I indicated in the statement, it's one of the objectives of [the new US] Ambassador Javits and our delegation here to try and break through the gridlock that the CD's been in for the past six or seven years, and see in particular if it's possible to make progress on CTBT. It does indicate to us that one of the reasons that we are, as I think we all are, concerned about the situation on the subcontinent, is that we don't have a strategic framework, a policy framework, for dealing with the question of India and Pakistan's nuclear capabilities post-1998. The CTBT and the NPT obviously didn't do anything to slow it down since neither state was a party to the NPT. But it is a matter of high priority for the United States. Secretary Powell has been to the region twice most recently, and then a couple months ago as well. These are issues that we will undoubtedly being focusing on. With respect with your second question on the definition of civilized states, I will simply leave it for today's purposes as saying that all those states that are not engaged in sponsoring, aiding or harboring terrorists, and the implication, as President Bush has said repeatedly, is even states that have been supporters or harborers of terrorists in the past can change their behavior. That's part of what global campaign is about not simply the multifaceted step financial, law enforcement, intelligence sharing, military, political and others, but helping to convince states that their long term best interest lies in abjuring terrorism and the pursuit of weapons of mass destruction entirely.

Question: In the plenary just now both Iraq and North Korea responded to your statements and both countries said that delegations from the International Atomic Energy Agency had visited their country recently and did not seem to have any problems. And North Korea accused the United States of not leaving up to the agreement that it signed with North Korea in 1994 and not building the two large reactors and saying that because of problems between the Congress and the administration deliveries of heavy oil that were promised had been delayed causing difficulties. Could you respond to those questions?

John Bolton: Let me do North Korea first. The fact of the matter is that North Korea has been in violation of its NPT obligations ever since it signed the agreed framework. It has not, to this day, permitted the IAEA sufficient access for the IAEA even to make a baseline determination of what materials and technology North Korea has. Let alone the kind of verification and analysis that the IAEA needs to be able to do to determine how much fissile material the North has. So, it is just a fantasy to say that North Korea has been cooperating with the IAEA. The United States has been in compliance with the agreed framework to the extent we can be, dealing with the regime like the one in Pyongyang. We are going to continue to try and work with Japan and South Korea to bring the North Koreans into compliance with their obligations to what they committed to in 1994. Time is running out and I think they are beginning to understand that. And as far as Iraq goes, why anybody takes what they say seriously I'm not sure I understand. If they are so confident about what they said here today, they ought to let the UN weapon inspectors in and allow them and IAEA to have full access countrywide, no game preserves, no sealed off areas, as they have for the past several years.

Question: If I could follow up, you said time is running out on the 1994 framework agreement, could you elaborate on that? The North Koreans, if I recall correctly, are saying that it's the US, Japan and South Korea that are not doing what was agreed to in terms of providing the light water reactor.

John Bolton: The agreement in Article 4 very specifically says that before the key elements to the reactors are delivered, North Korea has to come in full compliance with the NPT and their IAEA safeguards agreement. If you look at the time involved with how much is required to construct the reactors and to bring them fully into operation, and lay it next to the amount of time that IAEA will need to do the kind of professional job that they will do to verify whether in fact North Korea has made a complete baseline declaration and they have been able to do all their analyses, in order for those to come together, IAEA and its inspectors and the work it needs to do, needs to begin moving at a very rapid pace in the very near future. If that bubble of IAEA activity doesn't start in time, then the bubble underneath it of finishing the light water reactors won't be finished in time. But it would be clear after seven or eight years of not really facing that kind of time pressure, that if North Korea does not comply with the requirements of the IAEA, that it will be unambiguously North Korea in noncompliance. If they comply, then we will comply as well. ...

Question: Can you throw some light where the US stands on anti-satellite weapons? Your statement doesn't indicate anything about it.

John Bolton: My statement did say: we support the Outer Space Treaty and we have been concerned for quite sometime with threats that might be posed to our communications infrastructure and the satellite networks that we have in space. ... But as I said in my prepared remarks, we don't see any need for further agreements with respect to space at this point.

Source: Transcript - Bolton Says US Will Not Resume Nuclear Testing, US State Department (Washington File), January 24.

Russian Reaction to John Bolton Statement

'In Connection with the Speech of US Under Secretary of State John R. Bolton,' Russian Foreign Ministry Statement, Document 148-28-01-2002, January 28.

Moscow has taken note of the speech of US Under Secretary of State John R. Bolton, which he made at the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva setting forth the main elements of the policy of the administration of George W. Bush in the area of international security and disarmament.

Russia shares the understanding of the need for the maximum concentration of the international community's efforts on the fight against international terrorism and on counteraction against new threats and challenges. Likewise one cannot but agree with the US proposals for the building-up of efforts to strengthen the internationally recognized non-proliferation standards and regimes, and to prevent the slightest possibility of weapons of mass destruction being turned into an instrument of blackmail and terror.

Yet Moscow is convinced that the most important aspect of the consolidation of strategic stability and international security under today's conditions must be the preservation and strengthening of the existing arms control and non-proliferation treaties and agreements.

At the same time a whole series of US approaches to disarmament problems - and they found again their reflection in the Bolton speech - objectively complicate the situation, and undermine the international legal system in the disarmament field. It is the United States' decision to withdraw from the ABM Treaty of 1972, which Russia considers erroneous. It is the unwillingness of Washington to ratify the START II Treaty, and the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, its rejection of the continuation of work on the verification mechanism under the Convention on the Prohibition of Biological Weapons. In spite of the support by the overwhelming majority of countries for the start of the negotiation process on averting an arms race in outer space at the Conference on Disarmament, in fact the US alone does not see any need for this.

Russia regards the Conference on Disarmament as a unique international negotiation forum for the elaboration of universal disarmament agreements. In the conditions of globalization we see no way of dealing with international problems except on the basis of extensive cooperation among states. We once again declare our readiness for the search of mutually acceptable solutions as to the commencement of the substantive work of the Conference in the spirit of the compromise proposals already made by the Russian side on the program of work.

© 2002 The Acronym Institute.