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Clinton Warns N. Korea on Nuclear Program

Posted October. 23, 2009 09:07,   


U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton yesterday said the U.S. will never form official ties with a nuclear North Korea.

In a speech at an event marking the 25th anniversary of the U.S. Institute of Peace at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, she said, “Holding back nuclear ambitions of North Korea and Iran is the critical factor to maintain and strengthen nonproliferation regime.”

For an hour, Clinton explained the Obama administration’s vision of "a world without nuclear weapons" to 500 participants including Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Ellen Tauscher, Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs Maria Otero, U.S. Institute of Peace President Richard Solomon, and journalists.

When Secretary Clinton mentioned North Korea, she paused for a few seconds before giving a warning. “Current sanctions against North Korea will not be relaxed until Pyongyang takes verifiable and irreversible steps toward complete denuclearization,” she said.

Clinton said Washington will never normalize relations with a nuclear-armed Pyongyang.

“North Korean leaders should be under no illusion that the U.S. will ever have normal, sanction-free relations with a nuclear-armed North Korea,” she added.

She apparently meant that Washington will hold bilateral talks with Pyongyang under the framework of the six-party talks, but that North Korea must do more than just return to the talks and clearly display a determination for denuclearization.

Clinton seemed to send an ultimatum to North Korea to clearly express U.S. determination of no reward for Pyongyang if it meaninglessly returns to the talks without concrete efforts, as North Korea did under the leadership of George W. Bush.

Mansfield Foundation Executive Director Gordon Flake said, “Clinton meant that Pyongyang’s series of friendly moves should not be tactical gestures reflecting its attempt to avoid international sanctions.”

Clinton also urged Iran to demonstrate its commitment to transparency. In a negotiation in Vienna, Austria, the U.S., France, Russia and Iran agreed to move Iran’s enriched uranium to a third country.

She said the proposal was a “constructive beginning” but warned, "We’re not interested in talking for the sake of talking. If Iran does not take steps in the near future to live up to its obligations, then the United States will not continue to negotiate indefinitely, and we are prepared to move towards increased pressure.”