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Ambassador John R. Bolton Briefing on North Korea

Briefing on North Korea

Ambassador John R. Bolton, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations
Remarks to the media following a Security Council Stakeout
New York City
October 10, 2006


Ambassador Bolton: Well, I know you have heard from some of the other ambassadors who were in our meeting of the perm five plus Japan. I think we've made substantial progress here today. Very pleased that Ambassador Churkin from Russia had comments on the draft and we'll have some areas to discuss there. He raised some issues we had not thought of entirely but by and large, I thought the thrust of his comments were supportive and that gave good indication that we're continuing to move ahead. We remain very much of the view that the Council needs to respond swiftly here and I think that is still possible. We'll be having further meetings tomorrow at the Perm Rep level and that's intended to allow us to make progress on policy issues but we're pressing ahead. I think there is convergence on many issues, more than I would have predicted perhaps a day or two ago. That's not to say we're there yet by any stretch of the imagination but I'm pleased by the positive nature of the discussions and look forward to more progress tomorrow.

Reporter: (Inaudible) you're aware of any other time in the last 10-13 years that China has agreed to support legally binding punitive measures against North Korea for its nuclear activities?

Ambassador Bolton: I'm not aware of any previous such agreement and I think it's significant. We don't have complete agreement on this yet, that's hardly a newsflash, but we're making progress. And I think we're at the point where we can try and narrow some of the differences we do have and we'll begin to look at that tomorrow.

Reporter: (Inaudible) sacrifice firmness in order to get swift?

Ambassador Bolton: No, we want firmness and swiftness and I think we can have both. That's our objective.

Reporter: Ambassador, can I have a follow-up? I think that the Chinese have sort of a fundamental -- sort of principled opposition to notion of the PSI, which is something that you have -

Ambassador Bolton: I don't think they do. I don't think they do. I think - I've had many discussions with China about PSI over the years and they have always been supportive of its objectives, which have been to help supplement the various treaty non-proliferation regimes. They have cooperated with us in PSI interdiction efforts. What they have not done is join the PSI core group or announce public support for the PSI statement of interdiction principles. But China itself has, as I say, they've cooperated with us on some operations and discussions I know about how to expand that cooperation are going on on a regular basis.

Reporter: Is South Korea joining the PSI core group?

Ambassador Bolton: I'm not aware that they've endorsed the statement of interdiction principles but we've worked with them as well and Ambassader Oshima and I met with Ambassador Choi, the South Korean Perm Rep, earlier today, and I think we've got broad agreement among the three of us, a little teacog in New York, for those of you who follow this thing. That's another indication of the progress we're making.

Reporter: Do you think these sanctions are an effective policy tool?

Ambassador Bolton: Yes, I do. I think sanctions over the years properly implemented, properly designed and properly implemented can achieve policy goals. I hope they will here to.

Reporter: Certain aspects to the discussion. Which go under Chapter 7 and which don't?

Ambassador Bolton: No I don't think we're at that specific point yet. I'm not sure that'sb where it's going toÂ… I'm not sure we're going to have difficulty on that particular issue. Difficulties may come in other areas. I want to say again, we have not reached agreement. Do not misunderstand me. But I know when you're making progress and I know when you're not making progress and I'm still pleased with the direction things are going in.

Reporter: (Inaudible)

Ambassador Bolton: No, I was not.

Reporter: (inaudible) How does that effect PSI? Does it basically make it universally binding, at least in North-East Asia? Ambassador Bolton: No I think the text as we've been looking at it would be entirely consistent with PSI and would help strengthen the efforts but we'll have to see how it finally turns out.

Anything else now?

Reporter: Are the Japanese amendments out?

Ambassador Bolton: No, they're not. Some of them have attracted, I think, support like the idea of banning travel by top North Korean officials.

Reporter: Are there concerns about sanctions hurting the people of North Korea and when have they worked in the past and when they haven't. If you could give us a quick 10-second history lesson?

Ambassador Bolton: I think we have provided in the text a clear humanitarian exemption for t he sanction and we've designed the text as we've circulated to go after North Korean's programs of weapons of mass destruction. Nuclear chemical biological weapons and ballistic missile programs as well as their illicit activities, such as counterfeiting and drug running and other kinds of activities like that. The proceeds of which do not do anything to help the oppressed people of North Korea but which benefit the elite, help preserve the regime in power and support their WMD programs. That's what we're going after. I think there have been a number of successful sanctions regimes, not the least of which was the sanctions regime that helped persuade Libya after a sustained period to give up its own pursuit of weapons of mass destruction.

One more here.

Reporter: Would a ban on travel of high-level officials affect the six-party talks? The ability to get them back on trackÂ…

Ambassador Bolton: One wonders if the North Koreans don't have their own ban on travel of high officials to go to the six-party talks.

Released on October 10, 2006


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