Wednesday, June 15, 2005

'One Way Or Another' North Korea Will Lose Its Nukes!

The Bush administration, under fire for what critics call its failed North Korea policy, expressed confidence that "one way or another" Pyongyang ultimately would give up its nuclear weapons. "One way or another they're not going to have these systems," Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill said, the top US diplomat dealing with Pyongyang.
Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill
"And so the real issue for them is what are the terms under which they'll give them up," he said. Mr Hill's two-hour appearance before the US Senate Foreign Relations panel kept the focus on unsuccessful US diplomatic efforts to revive six-party negotiations on North Korea's nuclear program, which Pyongyang has boycotted for one year. He reiterated the US position that other options remain under discussion and added a dose of reality to recent optimism that Pyongyang may soon come back to the table. Mr Hill said Pyongyang seems to be "testing our mettle ... testing to see whether we're going to get into endless arguments with our partners. They're waiting to see whether we're going to start negotiating with each other and with ourselves to sweeten the pot for them and so they feel there's some advantage in waiting". Leading opposition Senator Joseph Biden of Delaware said US policy was a failure. The North bore prime responsibility for the nuclear crisis, he said, but "this administration has also made a series of poor choices, in my view, and has not ... pursued the policies that stand a realistic chance of mitigating and ultimately reversing North Korea's threat". Mr Hill disagreed that a year-long impasse in six-party negotiations on the North's nuclear ambitions should prompt change in the US negotiating proposal, unveiled during the last six-party round in June 2004. With US frustration building over the nuclear stalemate, a senior Pentagon official last week suggested the administration would soon decide whether to escalate pressure on Pyongyang and take the case to the United Nations Security Council.(I am banging my head on the wall) Mr Hill said the United States reserves the right to do so in the future "but it is not something we're planning to do now". He said the administration was considering other options for dealing with the nuclear crisis but did not give details.