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Rice on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace

Interview on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace

Secretary Condoleezza Rice
Camp David, Maryland
October 15, 2006

QUESTION: And joining us now is the Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, who comes to us from the Presidential retreat at Camp David. Secretary Rice, welcome back to Fox News Sunday.

SECRETARY RICE: Good morning. Nice to be with you, Chris.

QUESTION: Let's start with those sanctions that the UN Security Council imposed yesterday on North Korea. The resolution bans trade and weapons and luxury goods, but it does -- explicitly excludes the use of military force and it does not impose the kind of sweeping trade embargo that Japan wanted. Question: Do you really believe that preventing Kim Jong-Il from getting his cognac is going to stop his nuclear ambitions?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, this is a regime that very much likes luxury for itself while it starves its own people. And so I think it's probably gotten their attention, but there's really much more to this story, Chris.

China, which has never wanted to impose sanctions, particularly on a state with which it has close relations, Russia, the United States, Japan, and the entire international community have now imposed the toughest sanctions on North Korea that have ever been imposed. It's done it unanimously. It will allow efforts to prevent proliferation in the weapons of mass destruction that Kim Jong-Il is brandishing. And it sends a very strong signal to North Korea that it is now completely isolated. It, of course, leaves open the possibility of returning to six-party talks and implementing the joint statement that was signed on September 19th of 2005.

But this is (signal lost.)

QUESTION: But Secretary Rice, China, which -- and we're having some technical difficulties, but I'm going to press ahead while we continue to sort them out. I hope you can hear me. China, which is North Korea's biggest trading partner and shares an 880-mile border with that country, has already said that it is not going to inspect cargo coming in or out of that country, which certainly leaves the possibility that the North Korean regime can still ship out nuclear material. You're leaving Tuesday for a trip to the region, where you're going to talk with North Korea's neighbors. Are you going to try to get them, especially China, to crack down?

SECRETARY RICE: I think you have to, again, Chris, go to where we are. This is a remarkable unity of purpose and unity of message to North Korea. It is also the case that there are many details to be worked out, particularly about how this embargo and interdiction might work. I understand that people are concerned about how it might work so that it doesn't enhance tensions in the region. And we're perfectly willing to have those conversations, but China signed on to this resolution, it voted for this resolution, it is a Chapter 7 mandatory resolution. And so I'm quite certain that China is going to live up to its responsibilities.

But you cannot underestimate how big a blow it is to North Korea to have all of the neighbors now, including what has been its strongest supporter, China, fully united about -- behind sanctions against its nuclear program.

QUESTION: But to press the point, if I may, what do you make of China already saying that it does not intend to inspect cargo going in or out of North Korea?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, China is signed on to a resolution that pledges cooperation in stopping the proliferation trade with North Korea. And I'm quite certain that China has no interest in seeing the proliferation of dangerous materials from North Korea. This is the toughest action that China has ever signed onto, vis- -vis North Korea.

And I think when people say, "Well, the United States should have done this bilaterally," you now see why it is important to have all states united. There will be details to work out. There will be differences in emphases. But the North Koreans now face a united front that will not allow them to continue to pursue their nuclear programs without consequence and that's an extremely important step.

QUESTION: Secretary Rice, is the U.S. prepared to go outside the UN to form another coalition of the willing to act on its own to interdict all shipments in or out of North Korea?

SECRETARY RICE: We are very satisfied with this resolution and we believe now that this resolution should be fully implemented. It will take some work to talk about the implementation of the resolution. That's part of what I will do when I go out to the region on Tuesday. We believe that there may be other steps that will be necessary, given North Korea's behavior, but we are very satisfied with where we are right now.

To get a 15-0 resolution that sanctions North Korea under Chapter 7, and I want to just underscore, a mandatory resolution that brands North Korea now a threat to international peace and security, requires North Korea to do some things, requires member states to (signal lost). But for now, we are very pleased with where we are.

QUESTION: Listen, we're continuing to have some technical difficulties, Secretary Rice. We apologize, so why don't we take a break here and when we come back, we'll continue our conversation with the Secretary of State.

(Commercial break.)

QUESTION: And with the hope that our technical problems are now solved, we go back to Camp David and the Secretary of State. Secretary Rice, I'm going to take you back to the President's State of the Union speech in 2002 where he announced, listed the axis of evil and made this pledge. Take a look.

President Bush: "The United States of America will not permit the world's most dangerous regimes to threaten us with the world's most destructive weapons."

QUESTION: Secretary Rice, since then, the U.S. has invaded Iraq, which turned out not to have any weapons of mass destruction. And meanwhile, both Iran and North Korea have continued full speed ahead on their nuclear programs. Hasn't the Bush Administration failed to keep the promises pledged that day?

SECRETARY RICE: Chris, let's be accurate with the history here. First of all, everyone thought Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. One thing is certain now. Saddam Hussein's regime will never pursue them again in the way that they did throughout the 90s to the point that they actually used weapons of mass destruction against their neighbors, so Iraq is not a WMD threat.

When you look at Iran, Iran is now under international pressure to give up the early stages of the development of its nuclear program, its enrichment and reprocessing capability. It is a multilateral effort, not just a U.S. effort, and that is extremely important because the United States doesn't need to do this alone and can't do it alone. Countries have to be committed to sustaining the nonproliferation regime. And with Iran, we have six countries, the five Permanent Members of the Security Council, plus Germany that are pursuing that.

And with North Korea, which has been pursuing nuclear weapons for decades -- this goes back probably to the late 1960s, certainly to the late 1970s and early 80s -- you finally really have a coalition of states that are determined to keep the North Koreans from keeping their nuclear weapons program and progressing. So this Administration has done more than at any other time to make sure that there is really an international coalition to deal with these cases.

QUESTION: But Secretary Rice, for whatever reasons and whatever the diplomacy, the fact is that compared to 2002 when the President made that speech, Iran has a more developed nuclear program than it had in 2002. North Korea has tested a long-range missile when the President said that would be unacceptable. It has now had a nuclear test.

Aren't two-thirds of the axis of evil more dangerous now than they were in 2002?

SECRETARY RICE: And there is no way to suggest that having China, Russia, the entire international community finally unified around a plan, around a program to deal with the nuclear threat from North Korea is somehow less successful than where we were in 2002 when the North Koreans were pursuing a new path to nuclear weapons, where they were breaking out of bilateral agreements with the United States, where by the way, just two years before that, they had, in fact, tested missiles.

No, it wasn't a good situation in 2002, 2000, and they have continued to pursue their programs. But we're finally -- we finally have the right coalition of states to put enormous pressure on North Korea to reverse its course. We did not have that in 2002 when the President made that speech.

QUESTION: Well, let's talk about how effective diplomacy has been. You appeared on Fox News Sunday back on June 4th and I asked you how long Iran had to respond to an offer to end its nuclear program. Here's what you said at that time.

Secretary Rice: "I think it's fair to say that we really do have to have this settled over a matter of weeks, not months."

QUESTION: Secretary Rice, it has now been 19 weeks, three-and-a-half full months since those comments and the fact is the United Nations has not imposed a single sanction on Iran. So how effective is the diplomacy and how much credibility does it give us when we threaten Iran and North Korea?

SECRETARY RICE: Chris, you've skipped one step. In July, the United Nations made mandatory the Iranian suspension of its enrichment and reprocessing with a Resolution 1696 that was also 15-0. We then decided to pursue an option to allow Javier Solana, the EU High Commissioner for Foreign Policy, to see if he could find a way for Iran to agree to suspend its programs so that we could begin diplomacy. We felt that that was worth it.

But it is now very clear that Iran is not going to take that course. And the work on sanctions has begun in capitals and will begin in the Security Council this week. So we're moving right along here from February, when the IAEA, the International Atomic Energy Agency, said it was not acceptable for Iran to enrich and reprocess, through a resolution in July, to a resolution now within, I think, a few weeks here that will begin to impose cost on Iran for its continued enriching and reprocessing. And we've done all of that while having put forward a package of incentives that Iran could have taken up and could still take up (lost signal) its nuclear program.

So the international community has achieved a lot. These are not easy matters to handle. But the United States is much better off working (lost signal) its allies than trying to do this bilaterally and being isolated itself.

QUESTION: Secretary Rice, we continued to have some technical difficulties there at the end. We want to thank you -- whoops, I think she's gone. Thank you so much for appearing this week and safe travels on your trip overseas starting on Tuesday.



Released on October 15, 2006


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