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 You are in: Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security > Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation (ISN) > Releases > Remarks > 2002

American Policy--Future Priorities: Reinforcing Efforts to Prevent Nuclear Proliferation

Christopher W. Murray, Director, Office of Policy, Public Affairs and Congressional Relations; Bureau of Nonproliferation
Remarks at the 695th Wilton Park Conference, Wiston House
West Sussex, U.K.
December 16, 2002

I’ve been asked to share with you some thoughts about future U.S. priorities in the area of nonproliferation policy -- particularly in the nuclear arena.

  • Over past 50 years the tone and focus of our nonproliferation policy have evolved; and since the end of the Cold War, they have shifted dramatically. The President recognized this a little over a year ago, when he directed Dr. Rice and Governor Ridge to develop a comprehensive strategy on combating the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction [WMD]. Exactly, one year later, on December 11, 2002, the White House issued its “National Strategy to Combat Weapons of Mass Destruction.” This new strategy recognizes our changed world and how the United States will confront these new threats.
  • In the early days, our policy was simply about the global danger of nuclear proliferation -- we sought to forge international consensus on holding the line at five nuclear powers, and establishing controls over sensitive technologies. Now the problem is more complex. Distinctions between domestic security and security beyond our shores are no longer distinct.
  • We were worried about a fairly large list of countries; and this was this was the context for U.S. support for the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, the NPT.
  • An impressive list of countries decided to forgo the nuclear option, and several states that began to venture down that path decided to give it up. We commend the decisions that South Africa, Brazil, and Argentina took then. We likewise commend the decisions of Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Belarus not to try to maintain the nuclear weapons that were left on their territories following the collapse of the Soviet Union.

  • The NPT is now well established, and so are a variety of practical cooperative efforts to interdict the transfer of dangerous technologies.
  • In today’s post-Cold War world, our focus is above all on the clear emergence of several glaring threats -- rogue regimes that disregard international norms, whose governments are hostile to our allies and us. We know they actively seek nuclear or other weapons of mass destruction. This is exacerbated by the fact that some of these states support terrorist groups who seek to acquire WMD in order to use them -- not just against our allies or us -- but also against civilian targets around the world society. These threats demand a comprehensive and interlocking approach, which is what our new National Strategy to Combat WMD aims to do. It expands on our overall National Security Strategy (issued in September) and complements our national Strategy for Homeland Security (issued in July).
  • So now for the U.S., WMD is a defining national security issue. And the nexus with terrorism is a growing concern.
  • For the publics and many officials worldwide, the spread of WMD appears to be just one of many issues to balance and trade off. And too much of our dialogue has devolved into debate on architecture, a debate marked by numbing acronyms and too much acrimony.
The proliferation threat is real, and it’s getting worse

  • Because of the rogue regimes and the terrorist nexus, the threat posed by the WMD proliferation problem is as ominous as ever, and if anything, greater. The problem is one of both demand and supply.
    • More countries and entities are aggressively pursuing WMD, missile programs, and advanced conventional weapons (ACW) programs.
    • More countries are initiating or considering WMD programs.
    • There are more potential suppliers -- including countries that previously were only recipients of supply; proliferators are turning to each other for assistance.
    • Threat is compounded because of the ties by certain states to non-state terrorist groups that are actively seeking unconventional, asymmetric capabilities.
  • What’s missing in today’s international debate is the rightful sense of outrage that norms are being violated from inside and out by countries with increasingly threatening capabilities -- capabilities made all the more horrific because of their disdain for the norms, our way of life, and because of their close ties to terrorist groups.
  • Threat is from real countries, with real names, and real capabilities that pose real security problems for the U.S. and its allies and friends.
  • Iraq, North Korea, Iran, and Libya all possess and are all further developing WMD with help from traditional and new suppliers.
  • Risk remains that complacency, inertia, and timidity are preventing the international community from blocking attempted violations or reacting decisively to violations and allowing the maturation of capabilities that are directly threatening all members of the international community, including the U.S., our friends, and allies.
  • Ever growing complexity of trade, technological developments, movements of people, goods, and information. All of these make it harder to track WMD and the materials needed to make them.
Our primary objective is to deny WMD and missiles to rogue states and the terrorists they support. Most recently, North Korea’s recently revealed nuclear weapons program activities have become a more visible problem.
  • Iraq, as the President has said, is a unique threat and the most salient problem. Baghdad’s continued defiance of the international community and its possession and development of weapons of mass destruction pose a real and growing threat to the security of the region and civilized world. The Iraqi regime has twice invaded its neighbors; it has used WMD against its own civilian population as well as enemy combatants, and it has fired ballistic missiles at four states in the region. Though we seek the disarmament of Iraq through peaceful means, backed by the credible threat of force, we are resolved to eliminate Iraq’s ability to use WMD to threaten its neighbors, our friends and allies, and our interests.
  • This is in contrast to North Korea. The track record of the Pyongyang regime and the dynamics of the region are profoundly different. The circumstances, including North Korea’s recent regrettable announcement that they will resume operation and construction of nuclear facilities, call for a calm and deliberate approach -- as well as unity with our allies and boldness of action -- in inducing North Korea to maintain the freeze acceded to under the Agreed Framework, and to completely, visibly and verifiably, eliminate its uranium enrichment-based nuclear weapons program. We continue to work closely with our South Korean and Japanese allies, and with Russia, China, and the EU to seek an end to the North’s nuclear weapons program.
  • The Russia/Iran WMD relationship is also worrisome. We will work with Russia to stop sales of missiles, sensitive nuclear technology, and destabilizing conventional weapons to rogue states including Iran. Such activity is inconsistent with the new U.S.-Russian relationship that we are shaping. Some senior Russian officials appear to understand the risks of Iranian WMD possession; what are needed now are concrete steps to end the transfer of these technologies.
  • Russian nuclear technology that is flowing to Iran risks building a nuclear infrastructure in Iran that is linked to a nuclear weapons program; Russia should realize that no economic profit is worth the risks raised a by nuclear-armed Iran, which will pose a threat to Russia as well as the United States.
  • Previously secret Iranian activities and intentions are becoming increasingly clear; an Iranian anti-government group revealed information this summer alleging two secret nuclear facilities in Iran (a heavy water plant and “nuclear fuel production” plant), and we understand IAEA is following-up with Iran regarding these allegations. The Iranian statement at IAEA General Conference announced “ambitious fuel cycle plans,” but the associated costs and Iran’s oil and gas wealth make pursuit of such facilities for “peaceful” purposes implausible.
An essential element of this effort, which must receive the highest priority, is securing weapons-usable fissile material (plutonium and HEU). We also seek to stop the accumulation of these materials where they are no longer needed, and to eliminate excess stockpiles. To these ends, we must:

  • accelerate the Material Protection, Control and Accounting programs to secure weapons-usable fissile materials;
  • shut down plutonium production reactors in Russia and dispose of excess plutonium from U.S. and Russian defense stockpiles;
  • complete the movement to secure storage of 300 tons of spent fuel from Kazakhstan’s BN-350 breeder reactor;
  • continue the transformation of excess HEU from Russian weapons into civil reactor fuel and begin international cooperation to dispose of excess plutonium; and
  • prevent illicit trafficking in nuclear materials, including strengthening border controls and law enforcement cooperation.
A key tool to address these challenges lies in the multilateral regimes; the U.S. supports the multilateral regimes; they remain relevant. We want to strengthen the International Atomic Energy Agency’s capability to safeguard civilian nuclear facilities, ferret out covert weapons efforts, and reduce the risk of nuclear and radiological terrorism.

  • We want to help the IAEA expand its safeguards program, to press for additional non-nuclear weapons states to adopt expanded IAEA safeguards (through Additional Protocols) and to strengthen IAEA’s program in nuclear safety and combating potential nuclear terrorism.
  • We support the IAEA’s efforts to combat the danger of radiological terrorism by discovering, securing, and protecting radiological materials (e.g., Cesium)
  • Our backing of the IAEA is a visible example of tangible support to the nonproliferation regimes. For example, the U.S. increased its IAEA annual voluntary contributions by $14 million (to $50 million -- about a 40% increase) from 1997 to 2002. Most of the increase is devoted to nuclear safety, safeguards and technical cooperation.
  • But the real question is whether states will just play lip service to IAEA’s mounting responsibilities or actually provide the muscle to get the job done.
  • Nonproliferation regimes, and their components, like the IAEA, are only as effective as states make them through financial, technical, and political support -- especially financial support.
  • For many years, IAEA has not had sufficient support. We all need to do better -- much better. We have started a major initiative to bolster support, starting with a real increase in IAEA’s regular budget for safeguards. 2003 will be a very interesting year for the IAEA.
  • On the NPT: we have a well-defined and activist NPT diplomatic effort. Our goals are to strengthen the treaty further, keep it relevant, keep it effective, ensure compliance, and ensure that other states understand that their support for the treaty -- and the spirit behind the treaty -- is critical to international security.
  • Countries can support the NPT by honoring their obligations under the treaty, and by pressing other countries to comply with their own safeguards agreements. We must also press the 50 or so countries that have NOT completed safeguards agreements to do so as soon as possible. And every country with an NPT safeguards agreement should bring into force the Additional Protocol that FURTHER strengthens IAEA access and the development of information about nuclear programs worldwide.
Other treaties and agreements like the Missile Technology Control Regime or the new International Code of Conduct establish important global political and legal standards and norms.

  • They make for common standards that facilitate coordination of efforts among countries.
  • They are the international norms that provide a benchmark by which nations can gauge themselves and shape their own legislation and policy.
  • These norms are also a standard by which the international community can assess nations’ behavior in the nonproliferation field.
  • Regimes, coupled with national laws and the entire spectrum of nonproliferation tools make it more difficult, costly, and time-consuming for those who would develop WMD, missiles, and advanced conventional weapons (ACW).
  • We can demonstrate recent, tangible successes: the Ballistic Missile ICOC, consensus on MANPADs in the Wassenaar Arrangement, negotiation of IAEA Additional Protocols, and UN decisions on Iraq.
  • Some regimes (e.g., the Missile Technology Control Regime [MTCR], the Australia Group, The Nuclear Suppliers’ Group, and the Wassenaar Arrangement) facilitate cooperation among like-minded states in implementing export controls and pursuing other nonproliferation objectives.
  • In the MTCR, we continue to pursue outreach to non-members to increase their awareness of the missile proliferation threat, and encourage their support for international nonproliferation efforts. We are also working diligently to implement the Regime’s new focus on limiting the risk of controlled items falling into the hands of terrorists. That’s what it is all about -- that is the bottom line on all of these efforts.
  • On Wassenaar -- we are seeking to gain consensus on ways to strengthen the regime.

    • The first way is the arms pillar -- reporting transfers of small arms/light weapons and the code of conduct regarding transfers of these weapons and seeking a statement of understanding on arms brokering.
    • The second way is the dual-use pillar -- adoption of catchall and denial consultation provisions.
    • The recent incident in Kenya where shoulder-held missiles were launched against a civilian airliner shows that that threat is real.

Meeting the Nonproliferation Challenge:

  • We must continue working to strengthen norms against proliferation, to make it more costly – politically, and financially. We need to work to make their walls stronger and higher. This aims both at the demand and supply sides.
  • While strong regimes are necessary, they are hardly sufficient. Rigorous enforcement is necessary. While we continue to work on strengthening multilateral nonproliferation regimes, we need to focus on achieving verifiable results -- words without commitment and follow through are not worth the paper they are written on; we cannot build strong international structures on a foundation of defiance and breach.
    • Proliferators need to know they face isolation and more if their efforts continue. Ending the threat posed by Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction will send a powerful signal to other proliferators that the world will not stand idly by.
    • North Korea must not imagine it can blackmail the international community; statements by South Korea, Japan, China, Russia, the EU, the U.K., KEDO, and the Leaders' strong statement at APEC in Los Cabos all signal to North Korea that it cannot blackmail the international community. It must dismantle its nuclear weapons program in a transparent and visible way, or face increasing isolation.
    • We are working with supplier states to urge restraint and implementation of effective export control policies: companies and individuals in too many countries export dangerous technologies and goods to questionable intermediaries and even to known WMD end-users.
Other Tools:

  • Tightening regimes and improved enforcement are part of the answer, but again they are not sufficient.
Interdiction:

  • This is not a panacea, but properly planned and executed, interdiction enables us to intercept critical technologies en route to dangerous end-users and it lengthens the time that proliferators will need to acquire new weapons capabilities. Procurement efforts are becoming increasingly sophisticated, and our efforts must keep pace.
Sanctions:

  • From our vantage point, companies have a choice: sell to proliferators or sell in the United States, but not both. Where national controls fail, and where companies make the wrong choice, there will be consequences. U.S. law requires that we impose sanctions on those who help proliferators’ WMD and missile programs; and we will.
Positive Measures:

  • “Sticks” are an inescapable reality in fight against proliferation. So too are positive incentives.
  • G-8 Leaders’ agreement on new Global Partnership is an important step; we hope the Evian Summit will take this and other nonproliferation initiatives forward.
  • The Global Partnership reflects that nonproliferation work has been, and remains, under-funded; The U.S. Government carrying the burden; more cooperation needed from Europe and elsewhere.
  • We also look to business community, which has key interests in stable foreign partners. The same protection of intellectual property, and controls on illegal exports of technology that they seek, are important tools in fight vs. proliferation. Good corporate governance, transparency, rule of law -- both government and the business community have a shared interest in seeing our partners strengthen the institutions that make the international marketplace transparent and predictable. It is a two-way street -- we want to hear the business world’s views and suggestions. Business itself prospers from a secure international setting.
Conclusion – Nonproliferation is a Team Effort:

We are all partners in the worldwide effort to make the world safer. There are many areas where the interlocking nature of the challenges confronts us all.

  • Taking on Iraq’s WMD Threat: The President and Secretary Powell are resolved to see the Security Council enforce its resolutions and disarm Iraq. The consensus of the international community, embodied in the unanimous passage of UN Security Council Resolution 1441 has provided Iraq a final opportunity to comply and disarm.

  • We submitted the U.S. Additional Protocol for strengthened IAEA safeguards to the Senate for advice and consent for ratification; we are urging other states to adopt it.

  • We view a strong NPT regime as the bedrock of our nonproliferation policy; including support for strict IAEA verification of NPT obligations in the DPRK and Iraq.

  • U.S. committed to the NPT review process. We were satisfied with PrepCom I’s outcome, are currently consulting in preparation for PrepCom II (Geneva, April 28 - May 9, 2003), and look forward to substantive, productive, interactive PrepCom.

  • Promote effectiveness of the IAEA anti-nuclear terrorism program by seeking additional donors, encouraging Member States to request assistance, and by consulting regularly with IAEA staff on priorities.

  • We seek to amend the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (CPPNM) to extend coverage to domestic use, storage and transport of nuclear material in peaceful uses and to protection of peaceful nuclear facilities from sabotage.

  • We are working to strengthen the Australia Group, with new guidelines including a terrorism focus, an expanded control list, and catchall requirements.

  • We helped launch the ICOC on November 25, while refocusing the MTCR on regional nonproliferation and expanded export controls.

  • We promoted IAEA consensus in support of increasing the IAEA safeguards budget.

  • Nonproliferation challenges are multiple and multiplying. We need to focus on meat of the issue -- WMD and proliferation threats are the actual items that compose these threats -- and not lose the forest for the trees.
  • Enhancing nonproliferation dialogue with our worldwide partners is essential to success. But dialogue is no substitute for concrete action, and where dialogue fails we will use other means -- whether multilateral, plurilateral, or unilateral. That was at the heart of President Bush’s National Security Strategy.
  • There’s lots of opportunity to make progress; it’s up to us to transform opportunity into reality. Thank you.


Released on December 23, 2002

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