Rice Interview on CBS Face the Nation
Interview on CBS Face the Nation with Bob Schieffer and David Sanger of The New York Times
October 15, 2006
MR. SCHIEFFER: And good morning again. The story today is North Korea and we begin with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who joins us from Camp David. Madame Secretary, thank you and let's get right to it. The UN Security Council, of course, in a 15 to nothing vote, China and Russia going along, imposed tough sanctions on North Korea. It bars them from importing and exporting everything from luxury goods to anything having to do with weapons, especially nuclear weapons.
I guess my question to you is, how will this be enforced?
SECRETARY RICE: Well, it is a mandatory resolution under Chapter 7 and it is a 15-0 vote and that is a remarkable evolution, particularly for China, which has had a very close relationship with North Korea and I just think it shows how really angry the world is with North Korea for doing this and how concerned. It will be enforced because member states have an obligation to enforce it.
I think there are some matters that will need to be worked out, Bob. This resolution came about more rapidly, perhaps, than any in recent memory of this magnitude. So there will be some matters to be worked out. There will be a committee to work out some of the sanctions. There will probably have to be some discussions about how interdiction might take place. But this is a really resounding defeat for North Korea and it's a resounding victory, really, for the international community in its efforts to deal with proliferation matters.
MR. SCHIEFFER: Well, let me just ask you about this interdiction. Let's say, for instance, is the United States prepared to board North Korean ships or other ships coming into North Korea to make sure that they're not bringing in some of these materials that this resolution prohibits?
SECRETARY RICE: Well, it is likely that countries that are receiving these ships in their waters or in their ports can request or can, in fact, under this resolution, demand the right to board. I think that we don't want to get out ahead of ourselves. Obviously, this is a very important tool that the international community can use. But we'll want to use it in a way that does not enhance the possibility for open conflict and we want to have a very serious discussion about how to use this interdiction provision.
MR. SCHIEFFER: But what about in international waters? Will U.S. ships interdict ships that are going into North Korea?
SECRETARY RICE: This is a cooperative arrangement between member states. It relates principally to suspicious cargo, through intelligence matters and the like. But again, Bob, I think that we want to work out the details of how this will work. This is a powerful tool, but it is also a tool that needs to be used carefully and I don't think I want to speculate about how it's going to be used.
MR. SCHIEFFER: Let me just ask you one more question about this. Let's say a North Korean ship -- are we prepared to stop them as they're leaving to see what they've got in them?
SECRETARY RICE: Bob, we are prepared to do what we need to do to make certain that North Korea is not exporting dangerous proliferation materials and this gives us a tool to do that. But again, I think it's very important that we take the time to work out the details, because this is a powerful tool, but it's one that needs to be fully understood.
MR. SCHIEFFER: All right. Madame Secretary, I want to bring in David Sanger of The New York Times. He has spent time in North Korea, as you know, and a lot of time in that part of the world. David?
MR. SANGER: Madame Secretary, as you know, much of what goes in and out of North Korea goes across a very long border with China, a land border, and the Chinese Ambassador leaving the UN yesterday said that he would not see China enforcing any restrictions that "would create conflict that could have serious implications for the region."
If that's his view, what makes you think they'll enforce the ban along the border?
SECRETARY RICE: Well, I don't think anybody wants to create conflict, but China is a party now to an international resolution, a Security Council resolution that demands very clear cooperation of member states to make certain that dangerous goods are not getting in and out of North Korea.
North Korea has a long border, as you say, with China. It also has very close relations with China. But China has come a very long way in being willing to sign onto a resolution that makes China now responsible to make certain that North Korea is not trading. So I think that you're going to find China carrying out its responsibilities, undoubtedly carrying it out in a way that it believes will not enhance conflict. None of us want to enhance conflict with these measures. We just want to keep North Korea from trading in dangerous materials.
MR. SANGER: Madame Secretary, when you think back about the period of time that you've had to handle this difficult problem, back in 2003, just as the United States was headed into Iraq, you had a brief moment when the North Koreans had thrown out the inspectors and had declared that they were going to take their collection of fuel rods that the inspectors had locked down and were going to turn them into weapons.
That may have been your last chance to strike either their reprocessing facilities or that fuel and prevent them from getting the stockpile of weapons. Why did you choose at that time not to issue a warning to them on that?
SECRETARY RICE: David, the view then and now is that this is an issue, this is a problem that is best handled through diplomatic means. Obviously, the President doesn't take any options off the table. But when you have a situation in which the United States doesn't have either all of the carrots or all of the sticks in dealing with North Korea, you have to build a coalition of states that has the right combination of sticks and carrots. And that's this coalition.
And in fact, the six-party talks really come out of that period. The six-party talks then put China at the table, South Korea at the table, states that have real leverage. And I do not accept that North Korea has an irreversible nuclear program. In fact, I think that you will see that these parties that have real leverage will now put enormous pressure on North Korea to come back to the six-party talks, really willing now to implement the joint statement, which would both reverse the North Korean nuclear program and give North Korea entry into the international system. That's the best possible outcome.
MR. SCHIEFFER: Madame Secretary, the North Koreans have said that they might declare a state of war against the United States if these sanctions were too tough or if one of their ships is interdicted. What do we do then?
SECRETARY RICE: Well, the North Koreans say a lot of things. The most important thing is that they're, again, trying to make this an issue between the United States and North Korea. Quite clearly, it's not. 15 countries are signed on to this resolution that brands North Korea as a Chapter 7 threat to international peace and security. They're going to have to get accustomed to the fact that this is not a problem with the United States; this is a problem with the world.
That is why it is so important not to allow this to become a bilateral negotiation, because the North would like nothing better than to simply deal with the United States so that we are the ones that isolate it. They are clearly now the ones that are isolated and I think that you're -- we're going to hear these statements for a while, but there will be enormous pressure on the North to come back to the six-party talks, to negotiate seriously, to implement the joint statement, and to begin to reverse this course that it has been on, really, for decades.
MR. SCHIEFFER: All right. Well, Madame Secretary, we'll leave it there. Thank you for joining us.
SECRETARY RICE: Thank you.
Released on October 15, 2006