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 You are in: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice > What the Secretary Has Been Saying > 2006 Secretary Rice's Remarks > October 2006: Secretary Rice's Remarks

Interview With Hideo Yanagisawa of NHK News

Secretary Condoleezza Rice
Tokyo, Japan
October 19, 2006

QUESTION: Good morning.Secretary Rice with NHK-TVs Hideo Yanagisawa and crew members at the Ambassadors Residence in Tokyo.

SECRETARY RICE: Good morning.

QUESTION: Thank you very much for meeting us, itís a great pleasure to make interview with you.

SECRETARY RICE: A pleasure to be with you.

QUESTION: We appreciate it very much. First of all, it is said that North Korea is now preparing for a second nuclear test. We are very concerned about it. So do you think they're going to do it again?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, it would not surprise me if North Korea launches a second nuclear test, although it would do nothing but further deepen its isolation. I would hope that people are saying to the North Koreans that to do so is only going to result in further deprivation for North Korea, for further isolation from the international community, and it would be a belligerent act. And so the world has spoken with Resolution 1718, but frankly the North Korean regime so far has not been willing to heed the international community's call for it to give up its weapons -- it's nuclear weapons program -- and return to discussions, to negotiations.

QUESTION: This morning, what can you say about the prospective for North Korea to conduct another one?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, the only thing that I can say is I sincerely hope North Korea doesn't intend to have another test. But they do defy the international community. That's why the international community's extremely strong response has been so important. Resolution 1718 is an extremely strong resolution, a Chapter 7 resolution, unanimous, China on board for sanctions against the North. If anything, this should convince North Korea that the course that it is on is going to be of no benefit to it and convince them to change course. But it may take some time and it will certainly take the unity of the international community to convince North Korea to turn around.

QUESTION: If North Korea would do it again, what will you -- you are looking for as UN sanctions?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, I don't want to speculate on what will happen if North Korea tests again. We already have a very powerful resolution. I'm quite certain there would be additional measures of some kind.

But what we need to focus on is our considerable strength in dealing with North Korea. First of all, our alliances. I am here in Japan I will be later in South Korea to affirm, and affirm strongly, America's defense commitment to our allies, our commitment to the defense of our allies, because an attack on or threats to our allies are, in effect, like attacks and threats on the United States. This is a problem for the United States and therefore our commitment could not be stronger.

Secondly, we will use all of the means that 1718 allows to make sure that North Korea is not transiting in these weapons of mass destruction or that it's not receiving financing for them. And I am consulting with the partners here in the region on how we can best enforce Resolution 1718.

And finally, I think we need to keep in mind that the world is looking at a regime that has abducted Japanese citizens. Resolution 1718 speaks to this in terms of humanitarian concerns and that for its people, who are always on the edge of starvation, and so the hope would be that you'd have a denuclearized Korean Peninsula and that the North would turn to integration into the international system rather than defiance of it.

QUESTION: Yes. Yesterday, you had meetings with Japanese counterparts. Are you satisfied with those meetings?

SECRETARY RICE: I had excellent meetings with Foreign Minister Aso --


SECRETARY RICE: Yes, with the Defense Minister, Cabinet Secretary. Many very, very good meetings. And of course the Prime Minister. And so I fully expect Japan -- as I would expect that Japan and the United States are absolutely in coordination, absolutely on the same page in how to deal with these issues. And it's very clear to me that our defense alliance is as strong as it's ever been, that our resolve to deal with this problem is as strong as it's ever been, and our ability to work with others, including China and South Korea and Russia, will get us through this crisis. In fact, I will have a trilateral meeting with Foreign Minister Aso and Foreign Minister Ban Ki-moon of South Korea in Seoul later today.

QUESTION: With regard to Japanese law, could you get enough assurance or commitment from Japan in order to implement UN Resolution 1718, especially on cargo inspection?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, I think there is no doubt that Japan will be a strong pillar in the implementation of Resolution 1718. We have to understand Resolution 1718 is an obligation. It's an obligation to prevent North Korea from trafficking in the technologies or financing their nuclear weapons program, and it's an obligation on states to do everything that they can to prevent that from happening.

There are many aspects to that and many methods that will need to be used. Inspection of cargo is just one of many aspects. We are working with Japan and talking about the ability to detect at ports radiation, for instance, a radiation signature, which would let you know that a cargo has something that may be related to nuclear weapons.

We are both members of the Proliferation Security Initiative, which has been functioning now for some time to prevent the trading in these dangerous cargoes. It's something that I think that when we talked about the inspections, people got the impression that we meant a quarantine or a blockade, something like the Cuban missile crisis. That's not what was intended here. This is an obligation of states to use means to prevent the trafficking in these dangerous materials, and we now are having intensive consultations here in Japan and in other places on how to have a robust, effective means by which to give scrutiny to North Korean cargo.

QUESTION: But I think we in Japan have what we can do and (inaudible) at the same time what we cannot do under the Japanese constitution.

SECRETARY RICE: Well, there is plenty that can be done under existing authorities. There was, after all, a very important -- there have been important activities under the Proliferation Security Initiative which we've been doing for several years now that rest on current authorities and on international law. And so I think we should concentrate on what will make this inspection and the denial of North Korea -- to North Korea of these technologies, what will make it effective. And we can work from what will make it effective to see what may be needed through those authorities.

QUESTION: Okay, next question will be about China. China is a most important player in this crisis, I think, yeah. So without Chinese cooperation the UN resolution do not bode well, so how can you get Chinese cooperation from -- in this case?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, I have to assume that if China voted for Resolution 1718, which is a Chapter 7 resolution and therefore has mandatory obligations, that China is going to carry out its mandatory obligations. I don't think that China would have risked its very close relationship with the North to vote for a Chapter 7 resolution that it didn't intend to enforce.

And so China has great interest in having a denuclearized Korean Peninsula. I'm very certain that an effective means of preventing the North from trafficking in these weapons and technologies will be put in place. I'm quite confident that China, having taken the step now of challenging North Korea in this way, is going to want to make this work, because China only did this because it knows that a North Korean nuclear test was a threat to international peace and security.

QUESTION: So you think China changed?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, China has made, I think, a pretty dramatic change in its policies. It had long been China's position that sanctions were not even a good idea because there was somehow a violation of sovereignty -- against any country. And now you have China going for sanctions against a country with which it's had very close ties -- economically and politically and ideologically -- and doing so and issuing language about North Korea that is unprecedented.

I think this is because China also has an interest in a stable Korean Peninsula, in a stable region, and that this means that China is prepared to put pressure on North Korea to take a different course. Nobody wants to escalate this crisis. We don't want to escalate it. China doesn't want to escalate it. We just want North Korea to change direction.

QUESTION: You know Mr. Tang Jiaxuan, the Chinese State Councilor, he's now in Pyongyang.

SECRETARY RICE: So I've heard, yes.

QUESTION: Yeah. So when you met him in D.C., did you ask him to go to Pyongyang?

SECRETARY RICE: No, no. He came to talk to us about how China saw the crisis. He went on to Moscow, I think, to have some more conversations. We talked principally about how to use a resolution that would help bring North Korea back to discussions, because ultimately that's what you'd like the resolution to do is to bring this back to six-party talks where you could actually then make progress. Nobody wants to come back to the six-party talks just to talk again. We need to make progress.

But I have heard that he is in North Korea and it's a good thing because China, I think, has been delivering good messages to North Korea about the necessity of changing course.

QUESTION: This time do you have any specific or new proposal to China?

SECRETARY RICE: We are not here with a set of dictates of what the United States thinks should happen. We have a mutual obligation now under Resolution 1718 to prevent the North from continuing to acquire technologies, financing. It's an embargo on arms, certain arms. It's an embargo on luxury goods. We have mutual obligations to impose these penalties on North Korea and to deal with the potential for the North Koreans trafficking in these technologies.

Now, our mutual obligations can be exercised in many different ways. We don't have all the answers. The United States doesn't know everything about how to deal with North Korea. In fact, the Chinese have been doing this for much longer. When it comes to how to manage a land border, they probably know more than we do. And so these are consultations, true consultations, on how we can together carry out the obligations of 1718 and perhaps get North Korea to reverse course.

QUESTION: I see. This will be the last question here. I've been covering the Middle East for a long time, so I have on question. In case of Iraq, you took military action. But in case of North Korea, you are seeking for a diplomatic solution. I wonder what is the difference between Saddam Hussein and Kim Jong-il? What is the difference between the two cases?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, no case is alike. And in the case of Iraq, we had been to war in 1991. Saddam Hussein had signed on to a number of obligations under 1991 and would then systematically violate them. It's perhaps not well understood, but we were actually -- the United States -- continuing to fly so-called no-fly activity over the north of Iraq and the south of Iraq to keep Iraq from attacking its neighbors. It was a hot war in a sense; we were still in the midst of a hot conflict with Saddam Hussein.

And of course, he had attacked his neighbors in very recent history, and in the volatile region of the Middle East post 9/11 it was a threat that we could not allow to continue. We tried through the United Nations. We tried to get him to live up to his obligations, but he would not do it.

The situation in the Korean Peninsula is just different. We have longstanding defense commitments here that I think give us confidence that we can deter North Korean aggression. We also have strong commitments through the six-party mechanism to a means toward denuclearization.

And so not every situation is the same. We believe in this case we've got a very potentially fruitful diplomatic track that we can pursue.

QUESTION: Thank you very much indeed, Madame Secretary.


QUESTION: Thank you.

Released on October 19, 2006

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