Go to contents

Multilateral Talks Aimed at Preventing Proliferation

Posted July. 31, 2003 21:35,   


John R. Bolton (photo), the U.S. Under-Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, said yesterday that the multilateral approach of the Bush administration would not hamper the U.N. Security Counsel`s dealing with North Korea`s nuclear crisis and the efforts to deter the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. He added that the two approaches were complementary to each other, and stressed that they should be pursued concurrently.

At a speech held at the Hilton Hotel in Seoul yesterday, Mr. Bolton said, “I understand the South Korean government agrees to the approach.” He also made the same comment at a press conference held at the US Embassy.

He argued that there was still a possibility that the Beijing multilateral talks could succeed. That possibility, he contended, did not exclude the involvement of the U.N. Security Counsel, since the nuclear issue could be resolved through a statement of the Counsel. He added, "Appropriate actions by the Counsel would help the multilateral talks."

Bolton brushed off the possibility of bilateral talks between the United States and North Korea and was quoted as saying, "The nuclear issue is a problem not only of the United States, but also of the international community. Whatever the scope of the multilateral talks, the United States would not put other countries on the sideline and resolve matters with North Korea alone."

The United States made various proposals with regard to the format of the multilateral talks, said Bolton, and they were relayed to Pyongyang by Chinese Foreign Minister Dai Bingguo. If North Korea says yes to the multilateral approach, he contended, there would be progress.

Bolton warned, though, "North Korea`s blackmailing was over after the 9/11 terror attack. It`s time for Kim Jung Il to make a decision. Whatever the decision may be, we are ready to respond. North Korea, along with Iran, is put on the list, and we will send a clear message to dictators like Kim Jung Il. We will not tolerate sale of weapons of mass destruction by rogue countries like North Korea. Success of the multilateral talks will not change our position."

Young-Sik Kim spear@donga.com