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North Korea Successfully Tests First Nuclear Weapon


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North Korea set off a global panic when it announced it had successfully tested its first nuclear weapon. China, one of North Korea's closest supporters, called the test a "flagrant and brazen" violation of international opinion. Mohammed El Baradei, head of the U.N.'s International Atomic Energy Agency, said it was a "clear setback to international commitments to move toward nuclear disarmament." President Bush reported that he had spoken with leaders from China, Russia, South Korea, and Japan, all of whom had agreed that the North Koreans' actions "unacceptable and deserve an immediate response." This irresponsible act should not have come as a surprise. Intelligence released last week pointed to a likely nuclear test and in July, North Korea defied the international community and test-fired seven ballistic missiles. North Korea's rapid nuclear build-up can be traced back to the beginning of the Bush administration, when President Bush abandoned successful diplomatic initiatives put in place by the Clinton administration and ramped up his hardline rhetoric. "North Korea's apparent nuclear test last night may well be regarded as a failure of the Bush administration's nuclear nonproliferation policy," reported the Washington Post's Glenn Kessler. North Korea now possesses enough weapons-grade plutonium for as many as 13 nuclear weapons. But during the Clinton administration, the regime separated zero plutonium. It's time to return to bilateral talks.


By virtually every measure, Bush's North Korea policy has been a failure. Diplomatic efforts have broken down and North Korea has resumed plutonium production. When Bush took office, North Korea had produced enough plutonium under President George H.W. Bush for 1-2 nuclear weapons. Today, the country possesses material for 4-13 nuclear weapons. If North Korea unloads another batch of fuel, it may have enough nuclear material for 8 to 17 nuclear bombs by 2008.

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Here are the Presidents remarks at a Rose Garden Press Conference.


In response to North Korea's actions, we're working with our partners in the region and the United Nations Security Council to ensure there are serious repercussions for the regime in Pyongyang. I've spoken with other world leaders, including Japan, China, South Korea, and Russia. We all agree that there must be a strong Security Council resolution that will require North Korea to abide by its international commitments to dismantle its nuclear programs. This resolution should also specify a series of measures to prevent North Korea from exporting nuclear or missile technologies, and prevent financial transactions or asset transfers that would help North Korea develop its nuclear and missile capabilities.


Last year, North Korea agreed to a path to a better future for its people in the six-party talks -- September of last year. We had an agreement with North Korea. It came about in the form of what we call the six-party joint statement. It offered the prospect for normalized relations with both Japan and the United States. It talked about economic cooperation in energy, trade and investment. In that joint statement, North Korea committed to abandoning all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs, and to adhering to the Treaty on Non-proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and to IAEA safeguards. They agreed.


The United States affirmed that we have no nuclear weapons on the Korean Peninsula. We affirmed that we have no intention of attacking North Korea. With its actions this week, North Korea has once again chosen to reject the prospect for a better future offered by the six-party joint statement. Instead, it has opted to raise tensions in the region.


I'm pleased that the nations in the region are making clear to North Korea what is at stake. I thank China, South Korea, Japan, and Russia for their strong statements of condemnation of North Korea's actions. Peace on the Korean Peninsula requires that these nations send a clear message to Pyongyang that its actions will not be tolerated, and I appreciate their leadership.


The United States remains committed to diplomacy. The United States also reserves all options to defend our friends and our interests in the region against the threats from North Korea. So, in response to North Korea's provocation, we'll increase defense cooperation with our allies, including cooperation on ballistic missile defense to protect against North Korean aggression, and cooperation to prevent North Korea from exporting nuclear and missile technologies.


Our goals remain clear: peace and security in Northeast Asia and a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula. We will take the necessary actions to achieve these goals. We will work with the United Nations. We'll support our allies in the region. And together, we will ensure that North Korea understands the consequences if it continues down its current path.

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You forgot the question's from the press




Q Thank you, Mr. President. Democrats say that North Korea's reported test shows that your policy has been a failure, that you got bogged down in Iraq where there were no weapons of mass destruction while North Korea was moving ahead with a bomb. Is your administration to blame for letting North Korea get this far?


THE PRESIDENT: North Korea has been trying to acquire bombs and weapons for a long period of time, long before I came into office. And it's a threat that we've got to take seriously, and we do, of course.


In 1994, the government -- our government -- entered into a bilateral arrangement with the North Koreans that worked to make sure that they don't have the capacity to develop a bomb, and North Korea agreed that there would be no program whatsoever toward the development of a weapon. And yet, we came into office and discovered that they were developing a program, unbeknownst to the folks with whom they signed the agreement, the United States government. And we confronted them with that evidence and they admitted it was true, and then left the agreement that they had signed with the U.S. government.


And my point -- and then I -- as I mentioned in my opening statement, we, once again, had North Korea at the table -- this time with other parties at the table -- and they agreed once again, through this statement as a result of the six-party talks, to verifiably show that they weren't advancing a nuclear weapons program. And they chose again to leave. And my point to you is that it's the intransigence of the North Korean leader that speaks volumes about the process. It is his unwillingness to choose a way forward for his country -- a better way forward for his country. It is his decisions. And what's changed since then is that we now have other parties at the table who have made it clear to North Korea that they share the same goals of the United States, which is a nuclear weapons-free peninsula.


Obviously, I'm listening very carefully to this debate. I can remember the time when it was said that the Bush administration goes it alone too often in the world, which I always thought was a bogus claim to begin with. And now all of a sudden people are saying, the Bush administration ought to be going alone with North Korea. But it didn't work in the past is my point. The strategy did not work. I learned a lesson from that and decided that the best way to convince Kim Jong-il to change his mind on a nuclear weapons program is to have others send the same message.


And so, in my phone calls that I recently made right after the test, I lamented the fact that he had tested to Hu Jintao, and also lamented the fact that Hu Jintao had publicly asked him not to test. I talked to the South Korean President, and I said, it ought to be clear to us now that we must continue to work together to make it abundantly clear to the leader in North Korea that there's a better way forward. When he walks away from agreement, he's not just walking away from a table with the United States as the only participant; he's walking away from a table that others are sitting at.


And my point to you is, in order to solve this diplomatically, the United States and our partners must have a strong diplomatic hand, and you have a better diplomatic hand with others sending the message than you do when you're alone. And so, obviously, I made the decision that the bilateral negotiations wouldn't work, and the reason I made that decision is because they didn't. And we'll continue to work to come up with a diplomatic solution in North Korea.


This is a serious issue. But I want to remind our fellow citizens that the North Korea issue was serious for years. And I also remind our citizens that we want to make sure that we solve this problem diplomatically. We've got to give every effort to do so. But in my discussions with our partners, I reassured them that the security agreements we have with them will be enforced if need be, and that's in particular to South Korea and Japan.

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I did not forget the questions. I was just putting out his public statement. But, in fairness you forgot to post the President's response to previous administrations. This is not just an American, so I am moving this topic to World Politics.


Q Can we go back to North Korea, Mr. President?




Q You talk about failures of the past administration with the policy towards North Korea. Again, how can you say your policy is more successful, given that North Korea has apparently tested a nuclear weapon? And also if you wouldn't mind, what is the red line for North Korea, given what has happened over the past few months?


THE PRESIDENT: My point was bilateral negotiations didn't work. I appreciate the efforts of previous administrations. It just didn't work. And therefore, I thought it was important to change how we approached the problem so that we could solve it diplomatically. And I firmly believe that with North Korea and with Iran that it is best to deal with these regimes with more than one voice. Because I understand how it works. What ends up happening is, is that we say to a country such as North Korea, here's a reasonable way forward; they try to extract more at the negotiating table, or they've got a different objective, and then they go and say, wait a minute, the United States is being unreasonable. They make a threat. They could -- they say the world is about to fall apart because of the United States' problem. And all of a sudden, we become the issue.


But the United States' message to North Korea and Iran and the people in both countries is that we have -- we want to solve issues peacefully. We said there's a better way forward for you. Here's a chance, for example, to help your country economically. And all you got to do is verifiably show that you -- in Iran's case, that you suspended your weapons program; and in North Korea's case, that you've got international safeguards on your program -- which they agreed to, by the way.


And so my point is, is that -- to the American people -- I say, look, we want to solve this diplomatically. It's important for the President to say to the American people, diplomacy is what -- is our first choice, and that I've now outlined a strategy. And I think it is a hopeful sign that China is now a integral partner in helping North Korea understand that it's just not the United States speaking to them.


And it's an important sign to North Korea that South Korea, a country which obviously is deeply concerned about North Korean activities -- South Korea is a partner, and that if North Korea decides that they don't like what's being said, they're not just stiffing the United States -- I don't know if that's a diplomatic word, or not -- but they're sending a message to countries in the neighborhood that they really don't care what other countries think, which leads to further isolation. And when we get a U.N. Security Council resolution, it will help us deal with issues like proliferation and his ability -- 'he' being Kim Jong-il's -- ability to attract money to continue to develop his programs.


Q What about the red line, sir?


THE PRESIDENT: Well, the world has made it clear that these tests caused us to come together and work in the United Nations to send a clear message to the North Korean regime. We're bound up together with a common strategy to solve this issue peacefully through diplomatic means.

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Here is the President's other statement on North Korea.


Q On May 23, 2003, sir, you said -- you effectively drew a line in the sand. You said, "We will not tolerate a nuclear North Korea." And yet now it appears that they have crossed that line. And I'm wondering what now, sir, do you say to both the American people and the international community vis-à-vis what has happened over the last 48 hours?


THE PRESIDENT: No, I appreciate that, and I think it's very important for the American people and North Korea to understand that that statement still stands, and that one way to make sure that we're able to achieve our objective is to have other people join us in making it clear to North Korea that they share that objective. And that's what's changed. That's what's changed over a relatively quick period of time. It used to be that the United States would say that, and that would be kind of a stand-alone statement. Now, when that statement is said, there are other nations in the neighborhood saying it.


And so we'll give diplomacy a chance to work. It is very important for us to solve these problems diplomatically. And I thank the leaders of -- listen, when I call them on the phone, we're strategizing. This isn't, oh, please stand up and say something; this is, how can we continue to work together to solve this problem. And that is a substantial change, Kevin, from the previous times.

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Action Prevents Provision of Nuclear Technology, Large-Scale Weapons,


Luxury Goods to Country; Permits Inspection of Cargo to Ensure Compliance


Expressing the gravest concern over the claim by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) that it had conducted a nuclear weapon test, the Security Council this afternoon condemned that test and imposed sanctions on the DPRK, calling for it to return immediately to multilateral talks on the issue.


Acting under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, but barring automatic military enforcement of its demands under the Charter’s Article 41, the Council unanimously adopted resolution 1718 (2006), which prevents a range of goods from entering or leaving the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and imposes an asset freeze and travel ban on persons related to the nuclear-weapon programme.


Through its decision, the Council prohibited the provision of large-scale arms, nuclear technology and related training to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, as well as luxury goods, calling upon all States to take cooperative action, including through inspection of cargo, in accordance with their respective national laws.


The Council stressed that such inspections should aim to prevent illicit trafficking in nuclear, chemical or biological weapons, as well as their means of delivery and related materials.


Regarding the freezing of assets, the Council provided specific exemptions for the transfer of monies to meet various financial obligations and humanitarian needs, specifying humanitarian exemptions for the travel ban, as well.


To monitor and adjust the sanctions imposed on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the Council decided to establish a committee consisting of all 15 members of the body, which would provide a report every 90 days, beginning with the passage of the resolution.


Following the vote, several members of the Council condemned what many called an irresponsible step by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, stressing the importance of the Council’s swift and decisive action and emphasizing that, should the country implement the provisions of the new resolution, the sanctions could be lifted.


The United States representative said the test posed “one of the gravest threats to international peace and security that this Council has ever had to confront”. The resolution adopted today would send a strong and clear message to North Korea and other would-be proliferators that they would meet with serious repercussions should they choose to pursue the development of weapons of mass destruction. Further, it would send an unequivocal and unambiguous message for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to stop its procurement programmes and to verifiably dismantle existing weapons of mass destruction programmes.


“All of us find ourselves in an extraordinary situation, which requires the adoption of extraordinary measures”, the representative of the Russian Federation said. Today’s text contained a set of carefully considered and targeted measures, aimed at resolving the main issue: to make the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea reconsider its dangerous course, come back to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, and resume, without preconditions, its participation in the six-party talks. That could be done only through political and diplomatic means. He insisted on the Council’s strong control over the measures against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and noted that the resolution reflected concern over the humanitarian consequences of strict measures.


China’s representative agreed that the Council’s actions should both indicate the international community’s firm position and help create conditions for the peaceful solution to the DPRK nuclear issue through dialogue. As the resolution adopted today basically reflected that spirit, his delegation had voted in favour of the text. However, sanctions were not the end in themselves. China did not approve of the practice of inspecting cargo to and from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, and urged the countries concerned to adopt a responsible attitude in that regard, refraining from taking any provocative steps that could intensify the tension. China still believed that the six-party talks were the realistic means of handling the issue. It also firmly opposed the use of force.


Japan’s representative said that the combination of ballistic missile capability and, now, the claim of nuclear capability in the hands of a regime known for reckless irresponsible behaviour, created nothing less than a grave threat to peace and security. He not only supported the Council’s sanctions, but also outlined a set of national measures undertaken by his country, including closure of Japanese ports to DPRK vessels; denial of imports from the DPRK; and prohibition of entry for DPRK nationals into Japanese territory.


The representative of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, however, “totally rejected” the text, saying that it was “gangster-like” of the Security Council to adopt such a coercive resolution against his country, while neglecting the nuclear threat posed by the United States against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. It was a clear testament that the Council had completely lost its impartiality and was persisting in applying double standards to its work.




JOHN BOLTON ( United States) said that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s (DPRK) proclamation that it had conducted a nuclear test had posed the gravest threat to international peace and security that the Security Council had ever had to confront. The resolution just adopted would send a strong and clear message to the DPRK and other would-be proliferators that they would meet with serious repercussions should they choose to pursue the development of weapons of mass destruction. Further, it would send an unequivocal and unambiguous message for the DPRK to stop its procurement programmes and to verifiably dismantle existing weapons of mass destruction programmes.


He said resolution 1695 (2006) had demonstrated to North Korea that the best way to promote the livelihood of its people and end its isolation was to stop playing games of brinksmanship, comply with Security Council demands, return to the six-party talks and implement the terms of the joint statement from the last round of those talks. But sadly, the regime in Pyongyang had chosen a different path, answering the Security Council’s demands with an announcement that it had conducted a successful nuclear test. North Korea had thus broken its word, provoking a crisis and denying its people a better life.


He said that, three months ago, the United States had counselled other Member States to prepare for further action in the event that the DPRK failed to comply with resolution 1695. His country was pleased, therefore, that the Security Council was united in its condemnation today, proving that it was indeed prepared to meet threats to international security with resolve. Acting under Chapter VII, the Council would impose punitive sanctions on Kim Jong Il’s regime. By today’s resolution, Member States would also agree not to trade in materials that would contribute to nuclear weapons -- and other weapons of mass destruction -- programmes, as well as to ban the trade in high-end military equipment. In doing its part to implement that provision of the resolution, the United States would rely on a number of control lists already in place, as published by the Nuclear Suppliers Group, the Missile Technology Control Regime and the Australia Group.


He said the resolution would prevent the travel of officials known to be involved in weapons of mass destruction efforts, as well as target the way Kim Jong Il financed his related weapons programmes, including through money-laundering, counterfeiting and selling narcotics. By the resolution, Member States were bound to take action against those activities and freeze the assets of involved entities and individuals of the DPRK. It would provide for an inspections regime to ensure compliance with its provisions, building on the existing work of the Proliferation Security Initiative.


It would impose strict demands on the DPRK not to conduct further nuclear tests or launch ballistic missiles, he said, as well as to abandon all weapons of mass destruction programmes, whether nuclear, chemical or biological, in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner. The Council would lift the measures imposed by the resolution if the DPRK complied fully with all its provisions and resumed the six-party talks. However, Member States must be prepared if the country again ignored Security Council demands; in that event, measures must be strengthened and Member States must return to the Council for further action.


As the United States pursued a diplomatic solution, it was also reassuring its allies of its commitment to security, he said. It would seek to increase its defence cooperation with allies, including on ballistic missile defence and cooperation to prevent the DPRK from importing or exporting nuclear missile technology. The goals were clear: a nuclear-free Korean peninsula, and to work with other countries to ensure that the DPRK faced serious consequences if it continued down its current path. The resolution provided a carve-out for humanitarian relief efforts in the country, however, because the concern was with the regime and not the starving and suffering people of the DPRK. Hopefully, the country would implement the resolution so its people could enjoy a brighter future.




JEAN-MARC DE LA SABLIÈRE ( France) said that the Council, by adopting resolution 1718 today, had provided a firm reply to the announcement last Monday of a nuclear test by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. That reply voiced the international community’s unanimous condemnation of that extremely grave act, and unanimous determination in the face of Pyongyang’s behaviour. Adopted under Chapter VII of the Charter, the resolution contained a number of strong measures, in particular regarding missile and weapons of mass destruction programmes. It also contained provisions to prevent exporting and importing of products associated with those programmes by the DPRK.


It was necessary to ensure the effectiveness of those measures by proceeding under international law with inspections of cargo to and from the DPRK, he said. Given the challenge posed by North Korea, it was essential for the international community to be united and extremely firm. The Council had clearly demonstrated that the behaviour of North Korea would not be tolerated. His delegation also understood that full compliance with the resolution by the DPRK and successful resumption of six-party talks would prompt the Council to lift the sanctions imposed by the resolution.


WANG GUANGYA ( China) said that, on 9 October, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea had flagrantly conducted a nuclear test in disregard of the common opposition of the international community. China’s Foreign Ministry had issued a statement on the same day, expressing firm opposition to that act. Proceeding from the overall interests of brining about denuclearization of the Korean peninsula and maintaining peace and stability there and in North-East Asia, China supported the Council in making a firm and appropriate response. The action of the Security Council should both indicate the firm position of the international community and help create enabling conditions for the final peaceful solution to the DPRK nuclear issue through dialogue. As the resolution adopted today basically reflected that spirit, his delegation had voted in favour of the text.




He reiterated that sanctions were not the end in themselves. As stipulated in the resolution, if the DPRK complied with its requests, the Council would suspend or lift sanctions against the country. At the same time, China did not approve of the practice of inspecting cargo to and from the DPRK, and he had reservations about related provisions of the resolution. China strongly urged the countries concerned to adopt a prudent and responsible attitude in that regard, and refrain from taking any provocative steps that could intensify the tension.




China’s Government had committed itself to brining about denuclearization of the Korean peninsula and to maintaining peace and stability both on the peninsula and in North-East Asia, he said. It had always advocated seeking a peaceful solution to the nuclear issue on the Korean peninsula through diplomatic means. China had made enormous and unremitting efforts towards that end, initiated the six-party talks and pushed parties concerned to implement the Joint Statement of September 2005. Though there had been the negative development of the DPRK’s nuclear test, those policies remained unchanged. China still believed that the six-party talks were the realistic means of handling the issue. He also firmly opposed the use of force. China noted with satisfaction that, in condemning the DPRK nuclear test, the parties concerned had all indicated the importance of adhering to diplomatic efforts.


Under the current circumstances, it was necessary to “unswervingly stick” to the objective of denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, oppose nuclear proliferation, adhere to the general direction of resolving the issue through peaceful dialogue and negotiations, avoid any acts that might cause escalation of tension and maintain peace and stability on the Korean peninsula and in North-East Asia. That was in the common interest of all the parties concerned. All the parties should take vigorous and positive action towards that end. China was ready and willing to strengthen consultations and cooperation with other parties concerned, so as to ensure a cool-headed response, push forward the six-party talks and continue to play a constructive role in realizing denuclearization of the Korean peninsula and North-East Asia.




EMYR JONES PARRY ( United Kingdom) welcomed the strong signal sent to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, saying the Council had acted decisively and quickly under Chapter VII to ask for an end to that country’s provocative and irresponsible act. The resolution was important because it reiterated the international community’s condemnation of such actions, and made clear to the DPRK and all States concerned that they had a legal obligation to carry out its provisions.


He said the United Kingdom condemned the 9 October test as an irresponsible act, because it had raised tensions both regionally and internationally. Despite the repeated urging of its neighbours, the DPRK had contravened its commitments under the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty and had ignored resolution 1695 (2006). Indeed, the test had been a direct provocation to the international community and constituted a threat to peace and security. As such, the Council had duty to condemn the act, and had done so by sending a strong message to Pyongyang.


The resolution contained robust terms, he said, but its purpose was to bring about a stop to the DPRK’s weapons of mass destruction and missile programmes and to change the behaviour of the leaders in Pyongyang, not to hamper the lives of people who were already suffering.


The United Kingdom would lift the measures imposed today if the DPRK returned to the six-party talks. It was that country’s choice to flout or accept the obligations contained in it.




VITALY I. CHURKIN (Russian Federation) said that, even before the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s statement of its intention to conduct a nuclear test and then following that irresponsible step, his country had emphasized that such actions could complicate the settlement of the nuclear problem on the Korean peninsula, pose a threat to international peace and security and undermine the non-proliferation regime. His country had always advocated a strong, but carefully vetted, response from the Council, aimed at preventing further escalation of tension. He could only regret that North Korean authorities had ignored the warnings contained in the Council’s presidential statement of 6 October about the negative consequences that would flow from a nuclear test, primarily for the DPRK itself.




“All of us find ourselves in an extraordinary situation, which required adoption of extraordinary measures,” he said. Having supported the text -– a result of tense negotiations, in which all members of the Council had participated –- he noted that the resolution reflected concern over the humanitarian consequences of strict measures. At the same time, as a matter of principle, it was necessary –- as envisioned by relevant decisions of the United Nations –- to carefully weigh such consequences on a case-by-case basis. Any sanctions introduced by the Council should not go on indefinitely and should be lifted upon implementation of the Council’s demands. In that connection, he also emphasized that sanctions unilaterally adopted by States did not facilitate resolution of such problems, when the Council was working on joint approaches, with the participation of all relevant parties.


He added that today’s text contained a set of carefully considered and targeted measured, aimed at resolving the main issue: to make the DPRK immediately review its dangerous course, come back to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and resume, without preconditions, its participation in the six-party talks. That could be done only through political and diplomatic means. The measures against the DPRK must be implemented under strict control of the Council and its Sanctions Committee set up by today’s resolution. It was very important that, under the text, full implementation of its provisions by the DPRK would lead to the lifting of the sanctions. He hoped Pyongyang would adequately understand the collective position of the international community and take practical steps to achieve denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, as well as peace and stability in North-Eastern Asia.




The Council’s President, KENZO OSHIMA ( Japan), speaking in his national capacity, welcomed the resolution adopted today as one of the most important decisions the Council had taken in recent times. It was essential that such an important decision be taken by a unanimous vote, and that was a welcome outcome. The resolution strongly condemned the irresponsible act on the part of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, which had proceeded to conduct a nuclear test in total defiance of the calls to refrain from doing so by all its immediate neighbours and, indeed, by the entire world. That was unacceptable behaviour, which deserved to be met not only with a strong admonishment, but also with necessary measures prescribed in Chapter VII of the Charter. Under the circumstances, the Council had acted in the discharge of its responsibilities by responding to the grave situation created by the DPRK, swiftly and in unity.


The situation created by the DPRK had caused widespread and deep concern in East Asia and beyond, he continued. The danger presented by Pyongyang’s total disregard of the non-proliferation regime was clear and present. Last July, when the DPRK had resorted to the launching of ballistic missiles, the Council had unanimously adopted resolution 1695, condemning that action. It had also unequivocally urged the DPRK not to go forward with the test, through a strong presidential statement. Only two days after the Council’s call, however, the DPRK had claimed that it had conducted a nuclear test. The combination of ballistic missile capability and, now, the claim of nuclear capability in the hands of a regime with a record of known and reckless irresponsible behaviour, created a situation that was nothing less than a grave threat to peace and security. Japan also regretted that the DPRK’s actions were in contravention of the Japan-DPRK Pyongyang Declaration, the Joint Statement of the six-party talks and several other agreements.


Along with other concerned countries in the region, Japan expected that the DPRK would act as a responsible Member of the United Nations, by implementing this and other Security Council resolutions and decisions, including resolution 1695, in good faith. At the same time, the security issue was not the only point of contention between the DPRK and the international community. The resolution underlined the importance for the DPRK to responding to the humanitarian concerns of the international community, which included the abduction issue. He demanded that the issue be resolved as soon as possible.


He said that, on 11 October, his Government had announced that it would take a set of national measures in strong protest against the claimed nuclear test, recognizing the need to take firm measures in response. Those measures included denial of permission to enter Japanese ports to all DPRK vessels; denial of import of all items from the DPRK; and denial, in principle, of entry by DPRK nationals into Japanese territory. Japan would also implement in good faith the measures under the resolution.


The resolution contained strong measures, he added, but sanctions were not invoked for the sake of sanctions. The goal of the resolution was to remove the threat to international peace and security, by ensuring discontinuation of the DPRK’s nuclear testing and ballistic missile launchings, as well as the abandonment of its nuclear and missile programmes. It was up to the DPRK whether that opportunity would be utilized. That country’s compliance with the resolution and addressing the concerns of the international community would open the way for the international community to consider actions for the benefit of the DPRK as made clear in paragraph 15 of the resolution. Japan had not closed the door on dialogue and urged the DPRK to respond sincerely for a diplomatic solution to the issues between the two countries.

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Shi Yinhong is the director of the Centre for American Studies at Renmin University in Beijing.


An expert on international relations, he discussed with Aljazeera.net how North Korea's announcement that it detonated a nuclear bomb will impact the region and the likelihood of finding a solution to the crisis.


What effects will Monday's detonation have on the security of East Asia?


Shi Yinhong: It is very serious. First of all it greatly raises existing antagonism between North Korea and the United States. There is the possibility the US will now take a much more severe line in its actions and policies against North Korea.


The US is now pushing for sanction resolutions against North Korea, and the US and its allies - especially Japan - are trying to expand their individual sanctions into a collective United Nations sanction.


The current situation will also further encourage the Japanese nationalist movement to expand Japan's armed forces and the mission function of those forces.


Although it is currently a minority opinion, North Korea's actions will strengthen those who want to discuss the nuclear option in Japan. And this is also happening in South Korea. South Koreans may now even have to abandon the Sunshine Policy.


Now, China's relations with North Korea have reached a point where there is severe tension between China and North Korea.


In the past China was able to encourage North Korea to act responsibly, but if relations continue to deteriorate then this might only contribute to North Korea's parochial behaviour.


And with North Korea facing increased international isolation, not only from US and Japanese economic and financial sanctions but also from China and South Korea - who will also have to reduce their economic aid to the country - this will all increase the opportunity of malfunction or even a collapse of the regime.


How likely is this scenario of regional nuclear armament?


I don't think South Korea or Japan can go nuclear in a short time. Pro-nuclear opinion in both countries will increase but over time.


Why has North Korea done this?


The primary cause is that over the past few months North Korean domestic policy has changed. After the US launched financial sanctions I think any moderate elements in their policy ended.


Extreme hardliners now have 100% control over policy making and they have enormous political determination to launch their missiles, test their bombs and direct their nuclear arms programme for the purpose of, in their eyes, having a decisive weapon to protect themselves.


Now they feel they have a stronger position to talk to international society and force the US to make substantial concessions to them, including abandoning financial sanctions and agreeing to bilateral talks.


By possessing nuclear weapons they can also show to their own people and army that they are strong and this can help solidify their domestic support.


China is supposed to be North Korea's closest ally and yet asked Pyongyang repeatedly not to test nuclear weapons. What does Monday's explosion say about the state of this relationship?


It is now at the lowest point in many years. Because China is now threatening economic sanctions the tension between the two countries will only develop in the future.


There is the possibility that our relations with North Korea will reverse.


What is the next step?


Because of North Korea’s very particular and difficult nature and also because of various strategic values that all concerned powers hold, the problem has become very difficult.


I don't believe sanctions alone can solve the problem. I also don't think the incentives and soft approach taken by China and South Korea in the past will solve the problem. I don't see any assured way to solve the problem of achieving a denuclearised North Korea.


What UN sanctions will China agree to?


They will agree to sanctions that are not too severe and leave open the prospect of dialogue. They also want to avoid sanctions that might create a collapse. China will propose a limited sanctions resolution that takes a gradual, long-term approach.


Why does China not want North Korea to collapse?


Firstly, because millions of refugees would flow into China. Secondly, a collapse might mean China would have to send troops into North Korea and Sino-American strategic tension and suspicion would only increase. It would destabilise the whole peninsula.


China has a policy of non-inference in affairs of other countries but is it in Beijing's interests to have the current North Korean government in place?


I think China's policy of non interference in other countries internal affairs is correct but North Korea's nuclear issue is another problem that belongs to another category. This is an international issue.


Under the 1961 of mutual co-operation and defence is China not duty bound to defend North Korea?


Legally, this treaty is still here, but the treaty itself stipulates that if North Korea is attacked by other countries then China will respond.


But now the situation is different. This is a provocative act taken by North Korea itself so this is not a situation where China would have to enact this treaty.


Is it possible to return to the six-party talks?


If we are realists and consider how severe the situation is now and especially if we consider North Korea demands that the US would have to end financial sanctions against them as a condition for returning to six party talks.


When we consider all these factors, I don't think the resumption of the six-party talks in the near future is something we can expect to happen.

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These are some dark times....







October 16, 2006


Statement by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence on the North Korea Nuclear Test


"Analysis of air samples collected on October 11, 2006 detected radioactive debris which confirms that North Korea conducted an underground nuclear explosion in the vicinity of P'unggye on October 9, 2006. The explosion yield was less than a kiloton."


A P'unggye-ri is located at coordinates 41.1361N, 129.1567E, several miles south of the location of the seismic disturbance at 41.294N, 129.094E reported by USGS. There is another city by the same name some distance to the north.





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  • 1 year later...

The People's Liberation Army (PLA) of China has a plan to seize North Korea's nuclear weapons if it becomes necessary, says a report by American military experts.


American military experts have been talking to Chinese military researchers who claimed that in the case of instability in neighboring North Korea the Chinese military would dispatch the military to obtain the nuclear weapons the North Korean military has developed over the past years. The report says that China would try and coordinate its efforts in such a case with the international community, primarily the United Nations. The report however goes on to state that China would intervene earlier if "the international community did not react in a timely manner as the internal order in North Korea deteriorated rapidly".


Jiang Yu, a spokeswomen for the Foreign Ministry of the People's Republic of China, one of the five nations on the UN Security Council and a legitimate nuclear power in accordance with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty from 1968, said she was unaware of such plans, she also did not deny the existence of such a plan.


Richard Spencer of Telegraph Online says the plan indicates a major change in attitude of the PRC government towards it's neighbor.

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