UPI U.N. Correspondent
United Nations (UPI) Oct 03 2006
Within hours of North Korea's announcement Tuesday it would conduct a nuclear weapons test in the face of a U.N. resolution, U.S. Ambassador John Bolton called on the U.N. Security Council to consider a "preventative diplomacy" strategy to counter Pyongyang's threat. The panel of 15 is expected to take up North Korea Wednesday, and Bolton said he wants to try a different tack.
"What I urged today (Tuesday) was that the Security Council actually engage in something we talk a lot about but don't do very much of, which is preventative diplomacy; to come up not just with a knee-jerk reaction to the North Korean announcement, but to develop a coherent strategy to convince them that it's not in their interests to engage in nuclear testing," Bolton said.
"That's the reason why, contrary to the normal practice, there's no press statement today or anything like that. That would be the expected reaction. That would be business as usual," he said. "We'd probably be 'concerned' about their announcement and maybe even 'deeply concerned'" in such a statement from the council.
"But issuing a piece of paper is not the same as a having a policy, nor is it the same as a coherent, well thought-out program of preventative diplomacy, and that's why -- it was at my suggestion, but agreed to by everyone else -- that we not issue something today, not that North Korea should take that silence for acquiescence," Bolton said.
"North Korea should be more concerned about silence from the Security Council today than if we had issued a four-sentence press statement, because I hope it indicates that we will take very seriously what we said in Resolution 1695 about North Korea's programs and weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles," Washington's envoy said.
Ambassador Kenzo Oshima of Japan, this month's president of the council, scheduled consultations for Wednesday morning.
Asked if he could interpret why Pyongyang said it needed to test its weapons because of U.S. threats against North Korea, Bolton replied, "I don't know what the rational in Pyongyang is, but I think it is a test of the Security Council. I think it's a test of how the council responds."
"I want to have a discussion where we might actually think through an entire coherent strategy about how to approach this threat," Bolton said.
He was calling for such a discussion because he did not have an answer to Pyongyang.
"If I had the strategy today, of course, I would have laid it out in the Security Council, but having a decent respect for the opinions of our fellow members, we wanted to give all of them the chance to go back to their capitals," he said. "But I think it should be more than simply saying in one quick piece of paper we don't think the test is a good idea."
The envoy said the July 15 Security Council Resolution already said North Korea should not engage in any further provocative acts, that it should rejoin the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, resume conversations in the six-party talks with China, Japan, South Korea, Russia and the United States and "otherwise get serious about giving up its pursuit of nuclear weapons."
He said "the real question is whether we have an approach that will be value-added in terms of dissuading the North Koreans from conducting this test which they've threatened this morning."
Asked to characterize Pyongyang's compliance with the resolution, Bolton said: "In terms of the activities connected with the ballistic missile test, there haven't been any since then, but the North Koreans have also not come back to the six-party talks. They've shown no inclination to do that and they've shown no indication of moving away from their strategic decision to pursue nuclear weapons. If anything, the announcement today shows exactly the opposite."
When was asked if he thought talks with Iran would be preventive diplomacy, Bolton replied: "No. I think the talks with Iran are the outcome of the Security Council's Resolution 1696 that gave Iran until Aug. the 31st to suspend its uranium enrichment activity," and reiterated the U.S. position it would not engage the Iranians until uranium enrichment was suspended.
Bolton, when asked if he thought the leaders in North Korea and the leaders in Iran were getting encouragement from each other, said he could not make such a judgment, adding: "But I know that's why they were two thirds of the axis of evil."
earlier related report
The UN Security Council held a hastily arranged meeting to find common ground on how to counter North Korea's plan, announced Tuesday, but US Ambassador John Bolton conceded: "At this stage, there's division."
Britain's ambassador, Emyr Jones Parry, said the 15 council members had expressed concern about North Korea but had decided to let experts work on a "strategic response" later Wednesday.
"We will find out in this experts' meeting this afternoon what North Korea's protectors on the council are going to do," Bolton said, in an apparent reference to China and Russia, which infuriated China's representative.
Bolton called the North Korean announcement a "very serious threat" that requires the council "to speak very firmly".
But Chinese Ambassador Wang Guangya took exception to Bolton's comments. "We are all concerned about the North Korean announcement. On this issue, everybody is unanimous... No one is going to protect them," he said.
China's envoy said all council members supported the idea that a settlement should be found at the six-nation talks which North Korea has been boycotting since last November.
A US intelligence official said unusual movement had been detected at one of several suspected sites where North Korea could conduct a test and warned it could be carried out at any time.
"We've seen some activity in the area," said the official, without naming the site. "When I say activity, I mean personnel, vehicles, materials, things of that nature."
The official, who spoke to AFP on condition of anonymity, said it was difficult to discern how far advanced North Korea's test preparations might be.
"The bottom line is they could conduct it with little or no warning," the official said.
Many nations called on North Korea to abandon its planned test, which analysts have said was an effort to gain leverage with the United States.
Washington led calls for the North to return to the talks with the United States, South Korea, China, Russia and Japan that have been stalled for 11 months.
"The right thing is to end these kinds of provocations and end these kinds of threats and to go back to the six-party talks, which is where we all want to be to come up with a viable solution to North Korea's nuclear program," State Department deputy spokesman Tom Casey said.
North Korea has boycotted the six-party talks in protest at financial sanctions the United States imposed on a Macau bank accused of laundering funds for the North Koreans.
South Korea's Foreign Minister Ban Ki-Moon discussed the new crisis with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, officials said.
Lavrov and Ban agreed that an explosion would be "unacceptable" and "can only serve to worsen the situation and complicate the resumption of six-party talks", said a Russian statement.
Seoul's Unification Minister Lee Jong-Seok warned it would halt economic aid worth tens of millions of dollars to its impoverished communist neighbour if it exploded a nuclear device.
Japan's new Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, set to hold his first summits with the leaders of China and South Korea, said the world needed to send a united message to Pyongyang.
"It is important that the international community send North Korea a message that it must respond to their concerns," Abe said. "The situation will not be resolved until North Korea recognizes this."
China, the main political ally and chief supplier of food and energy to the impoverished North, has however appealed for "calm and restraint" amid the new tensions.
The North said in February 2005 that it had developed a nuclear weapon, and US intelligence services believe the country has developed a few crude atomic weapons.
North Korea drew international criticism in July, when it test-fired seven missiles, including one thought to be capable of reaching US soil. In response, the UN Security Council imposed missile-related sanctions against Pyongyang.
Source: Agence France-Presse
Source: United Press International
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Malmstrom AFB (AFPN) Oct 04, 2006
Missile combat crews in the 490th Missile Squadron here are helping the 20th Air Force transform missile operations as crewmembers started performing 72-hour alerts using three-person crews Sept. 30. Twentieth Air Force Commander, Maj. Gen. Thomas F. Deppe, suggested the 72-hour alert initiative and directed one squadron at each 20th AF wing to test the program.
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