Press Roundtable with Japanese MediaJohn R. Bolton, Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security
February 10, 2005
MODERATOR: Thank you very much for coming. Under Secretary Bolton is on-the-record, so you may quote him directly, and if you need photos to go, maybe you can get them from the speech that he did on Monday, or we can arrange something. So I will let him do a few remarks on why he is here and what he wants to say, and then he'll take your questions. We have to end promptly at 10:50, so we've got about 45 minutes.
UNDER SECRETARY BOLTON: Could you all just turn your signs this way, so I can see who you are? That way, you don't have to go through the introductions.
MODERATOR: But I would appreciate it if, for the record, you would just say your name, when you talk.
UNDER SECRETARY BOLTON: This is the last day of our trip here in Japan. We go back to Washington a little bit later, and I've been here for another round of our regular consultations to attend the ASTOP conference that the Government of Japan hosted. That stands for Asia Senior Leaders Talks on Proliferation. It's the second one the government has hosted, with South Korea, China, Australia, the United States, and pretty much all the ASEAN [Association of Southeast Asian Nations] countries. And it was also the occasion for consultations on North Korea, Iran, the situation involving the EU [European Union] arms embargo on China and a number of other issues, and I met with a whole range of Japanese Government officials: in the Foreign Ministry, the Chief Cabinet Secretary, Japan Defense Agency, Governor Ishihara, Mr. Abe and a range of others as well. So why don't I just stop there. I'd be happy to answer your questions.
QUESTION: Yomiuri Shimbun. On North Korea, what is the prospect, do you think, of resuming the Six-Party Talks? Can you confirm the report by New York Times, saying you have concrete evidence that the North Koreans actually were doing with Libya, exporting materials of uranium?
UNDER SECRETARY BOLTON: Well, on the first question, you know, the United States has been prepared to come back to a fourth round of the Six-Party Talks within a matter of weeks after the third round concluded in June of last year. And it's been the North Koreans who have been the principal reason that we haven't been able to have a fourth round. They were waiting for the outcome of our election; then they were waiting to see what the composition of the foreign policy team would be in the second Bush term, and then they were waiting for the Inaugural Address; then they were waiting for the State of the Union message -- now I don't think there are any more reasons for them to wait. And we've made it clear -- we've put a proposal on the table, kind of assembling a number of the thoughts we had expressed previously. We put that proposal on the table at the June 3 round, and the North Koreans have never substantively responded to it. So we're prepared at any time the Chinese are logistically ready to host a fourth round, and I think the spotlight is now on North Korea for them to come back.
On the other question, of course I don't comment on sensitive intelligence matters, but I will say this: We have very strong reason to believe that the involvement of the A.Q. Khan network with North Korea tells us that their uranium enrichment program may well have started much earlier in time than we would have assessed prior to what we have learned about the Khan network. And the question that we can't answer definitively, but that certainly is worth considering is: How soon after they signed the 1994 Agreed Framework did the North Koreans begin to violate it? And the more you know about the Khan network, the more substantial would be the basis on which to conclude that the North Koreans began to violate the Agreed Framework from a very early date. That may, in turn, tell us something about the state of their uranium enrichment program and why it is so important, in any resolution of the North Korean question, that we have to address both the plutonium route to nuclear weapons as well as the uranium route.
QUESTION: Mainichi Shimbun. The Japanese Government and congress members are discussing the timing to impose economic sanctions on North Korea. If Japan decides to impose, do you think the United States will act jointly? And secondly, do you think that economic sanctions without the cooperation from China, Russia, (South) Korea are useless or meaningless?
UNDER SECRETARY BOLTON: A lot of questions -- let me try to address them one at a time. First, the United States -- I'm just going to speak for the United States now -- the United States has no hesitancy whatever to impose sanctions unilaterally, when our law requires it or when we think, as a matter of policy, that it's appropriate to do so. Certainly, if you had broad international participation in sanctions, that would be positive, but the United States doesn't wait for everybody in the UN General Assembly to agree before we make sanctions decisions. So, for example now we have essentially no economic contact with North Korea, as a result of the imposition of U.S. sanctions over the years. We provide humanitarian assistance, but that's all. So in the case of the Japanese decision that's pending -- whether it's imposed unilaterally or with others would not be an issue with the United States, since we use unilateral sanctions all the time.
The question, I think, from the Japanese perspective, is something that I know the government has been very carefully considering, and in the course of the discussions that I've had here, I was very impressed at the seriousness with which the government is proceeding and weighing all the consequences of a decision whether or not to impose sanctions. Fundamentally, I consider the decision something for Japan to make. We would welcome consultations, and we've been having consultations, but it's fundamentally a Japanese decision, and I believe the United States will respect the Japanese decision, whichever way it turns out.
QUESTION: Secretary Rice talked about the transformational diplomacy. She said we are optimists in the same boat, to change the world. Do you see any change of the approach toward the nuclear issue of North Korea and Iran, due to this transformational diplomacy?
UNDER SECRETARY BOLTON: It's a fair question. There's been a lot of speculation about what will change in President Bush's second term, and I've been interested to read it, not just in foreign press, but in the U.S. press too, and I have to tell you, I'm still a little surprised that people think that after the President's re-election, that things would change very much. You know, he was President for four years; he laid out what his foreign policy was; he was re-elected. There's no reason to think that he's going to change it, and I think particularly in Dr. Rice's trip to Europe, where she has discussed the Iranian nuclear weapons program, as an example, I think you can see from her comments over the past several days, there's fundamentally no change at all from the approach we've been pursuing in the previous first term.
I think when she and the President talked about transformational diplomacy, they are talking about the consequences -- particularly in the Middle East -- of what we've accomplished working with our coalition partners in helping to have, for the first time ever, free and fair elections in Afghanistan, in Iraq, and the elections that have been held by the Palestinians in the occupied territories. And when you add to that the success of the elections process in Ukraine, you can see that there is a lot of change in the air, and that's the kind of thing that's very hard to assess in the short term, but there is simply no doubt that the change of government in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the prospect of a fairly elected Palestinian leader will have in that region -- just look at a map, and look at what the elimination of the Taliban and the elimination of Saddam Hussein and the change in the Palestinian leadership can lead to.
QUESTION: Tokyo Shimbun. President Bush mentioned only one time about North Korea in his State of the Union speech, and so doesn't it mean that he's less interested in North Korea? Or, if not, then what kind of message did he intend to give North Korea by that speech?
UNDER SECRETARY BOLTON: Well, I think he said in the State of the Union that North Korea's pursuit of nuclear weapons is not acceptable to the United States, in so many words -- I don't have the speech in front of me -- but that has been our consistent position. Most of speech was about American domestic issues -- social security reform, an enormously difficult but important task that the President has set for himself. And on the foreign policy side, much of the speech was on Iraq and the consequences from the successful election there. I think when you look at the -- to go back, not to the State of the Union message but the inaugural address, which was more broadly about foreign policy, and the transformational effect of the spread of freedom and liberty, that that's a pretty powerful message, not just to North Korea, but to a number of other regimes as well.
QUESTION: Kyodo News. I would like to ask you about nonproliferation issues. We are waiting for the upcoming NPT [Non-Proliferation Treaty] -- May's NPT review conference, and some non-nuclear states are saying that the 13 steps on disarmament should be the basis for further negotiation. How could you respond to that assertion?
UNDER SECRETARY BOLTON: You know, we're still reviewing exactly where we are on the subject, but the 13 steps in several respects have been overtaken by events. The United States has withdrawn from the ABM [Anti-Ballistic Missile] Treaty of 1972; we have made it plain we do not intend to ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. We have signed the Treaty of Moscow with Russia, which provided for both the Russian and the American sides to draw down, over a 10-year period, our operationally deployed strategic nuclear warheads, from a range of about 6,000 each to the amount specified in the treaty, which is 1,700 to 2,200 operationally deployed warheads over that 10-year period. So many aspects of the 13 steps are five years old. And you know, the 13 steps were contained in the final document of the 2000 review conference. It's not legally binding. It's a political statement, and times change. Politics change. We'll see where we go from here.
QUESTION: Asahi. In relation to that, the United States -- President Bush and U.S. officials -- have pointed out that the NPT has a lot of loopholes, and how would you see those loopholes will be covered at the review conference?
UNDER SECRETARY BOLTON: What the President said in the speech he gave in February of last year at the National Defense University is still the basic outline of some of the policies we are pursuing in that regard. And the President's analysis was that the NPT was threatened by the actions of a number of states that sought -- without ostensibly violating the treaty -- to come very close to complete acquisition of the nuclear fuel cycle, that would put them in what we call a "breakout" position, in other words, that they would be close to an independent capability to manufacture fissile material that they could use in a nuclear weapons program, but that they could do this completely legally under the treaty, with IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency] inspection and all the rest of it. But that having achieved this capability, then they might withdraw from the NPT and produce nuclear weapons, or stay in the NPT and violate it. The North Koreans followed the course of withdrawing from the NPT; Iran follows the course of staying in the NPT but violating it. But the point is that we now know, the NPT was written decades ago, before we could see many of the different paths that would-be nuclear powers have taken.
So what the President proposed -- and we're exploring a number of other options as well -- is what to do with the problem of a state obtaining a breakout capability, and that's why the President said that the only really sure way to prevent this kind of problem is not to have countries develop uranium enrichment or plutonium reprocessing capabilities if they don't already have it, and it's a controversial proposal. It's a very far-reaching proposal, but it's intended to address the long-term future of the NPT, to plug these loopholes. And we were very pleased that the G-8 Sea Island summit last summer, when the G-8 leaders agreed on a one-year moratorium on the transfer of enrichment or reprocessing technology to states that didn't already have it. The moratorium isn't exactly what the President proposed, but functionally it's the same thing, at least for the period of the moratorium. Now, as we come to the G-8 summit under the United Kingdom presidency at Gleneagles, we will be addressing the question of whether to extend the moratorium or whether to take some other steps, and in fact we'll have a meeting of the G-8 senior group. So that is very much at the top of our agenda. We've certainly had consultations with Japanese Government about that, and I think we share a common aim. We're looking now for operationally the right way to carry it out.
QUESTION: I think that you have stressed many times that the threat of nuclear development in Iran, and we see observations. What stage is it now? Actually, how many years do they need to develop actual nuclear weapons?
UNDER SECRETARY BOLTON: Well, there are a variety of estimates on how far away from a weapon capability they are. And if you bear in mind the critical factor in assessing when a country can create a weapons capability is the possession of the fissile material. If you don't have weapons-grade uranium or plutonium, you can't make a nuclear weapon. There are a lot of other steps that you need, as well, but fundamentally that's the most important, and I think our assessments -- as I say, they cover a range of years -- but from a period of from several years through the end of the decade. The problem with the estimates is that if they are able to purchase weapons-grade fissile material from somebody else, and they otherwise have the weapons technology, that period can be greatly reduced. And I think if you look at the case of Iraq, which has been much in the news because of the absence of WMDs [weapons of mass destruction], if you actually look at Iraq over a 15-year period, it shows that intelligence can be wrong in different directions. In the case most recently, where there was an assessment that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction, that turned out not to be accurate. After the first Persian Gulf War, we learned that our assessment of Iraq's nuclear weapons program at that point was very inadequate and that the Iraqis were much further advanced than we had had reason to believe. So I think what this tells us is that intelligence estimates are estimates, and while you might say that the question of an Iranian capability is several years away, a due regard for our own humility ought to tell us we might be wrong, and that in either direction.
In any event, in the nuclear world, a matter of years is a very short period of time.
QUESTION: Fuji Television. President Khatami of Iran expressed his determination, I think this morning or just yesterday, about obtaining so-called "breakup capability" and do you think you can solve Iranian issues before Israel becomes impatient?
UNDER SECRETARY BOLTON: Well the message, I think, that Dr. Rice has sent Europe has been very clear that Iran has a window here to take advantage of their negotiations with the Europeans to demonstrate that they've made the strategic decision to give up the pursuit of nuclear weapons. And that if they don't take advantage of that, our policy referring Iran to the Security Council is going to take hold. Our view is that we should try and resolve this peacefully and through diplomatic means -- that's what we say to everybody we have consultations with including the Israelis, but it's also why we say we never take any option off the table. I think the Iranians need to focus on that. The statements that they've made, and President Khatami made another one, as you said very recent -- yesterday or early today or whatever, saying that Iran would never give up uranium enrichment program. Well, that's a fundamental precept of the proposed European deal, which is that Iran get out of the uranium enrichment and reprocessing business. If they're not willing to do that, then I don't see how the deal can proceed and it's a further indication that Iran has not made the strategic decision to give up the pursuing nuclear weapons, which is what they need to do.
QUESTION: How long can you wait?
UNDER SECRETARY BOLTON: I wouldn't put a deadline on or anything like that, but we're very concerned that even in the current circumstances where Iran is purportedly engaged in the suspension of its enrichment activities, that it might nonetheless be proceeding in the clandestine part of its a enrichment program to be perfecting the technical steps that it needs to perfect, to have a completely indigenous capability to work on the problems they've had in their uranium conversion and uranium enrichment activities. So that, in fact, this is not really a suspension; this is a catch-up opportunity for the Iranians. And it's one reason why we say all the time that time is not on our side in these things because, as technicians and scientists work to advance their program while the diplomats are negotiating, it means that the Iranian capabilities are increasing. And that's obviously very troubling.
QUESTION: NHK. I have a question about A.Q. Khan's nuclear black market. Has the illicit network been totally eliminated already or not? And second, do you get full cooperation from Pakistan Government, because it's very sensitive issue to President Musharraf.
UNDER SECRETARY BOLTON: No, I would not that we can -- to put it differently, we cannot say for certain that the Khan network has been entirely destroyed. What we can say is that the central activities of the network have been stopped. Principally that's because we stopped Khan and the chief officers of the network that we know about. But this question of when to bring the network down has been a very difficult question for us for some time, because we've always faced the issue -- if you act to bring the network down, you can only be sure that you've eliminated what you know about, and you don't know what's happened to what you don't know about, by definition.
So, one of our main preoccupations in the roughly one year now since the network was made public in Pakistan took the very decisive action that took was to continue our investigation and to work with the number of other governments, really around the world, in ongoing law enforcement investigations and ongoing intelligence activities to see what else we can find out about the parts of the network may still be out there. It's little bit like an octopus -- you can get part of it, but you don't know that you've reached all tentacles, and we want to make sure that we've acted as thoroughly as we can. I think we've achieved very substantial result, but would be a premature to say that the network has been completely disabled. I think our cooperation with Pakistan has been excellent I think Khan has more information we'd like to obtain and we're working on that. But it's also question of investigating broadly around the world, and we've got very good cooperation from the governments that we've been working with, and we expect that to continue and there will be more developments this time goes on. Certainly, we've learned a lot from the information we've obtained from Libya -- from their decision to give up the pursuit of nuclear weapons and there's more to learn there as well.
QUESTION: But, the United States and even IAEA cannot access Dr. Khan. So can't you?
UNDER SECRETARY BOLTON: Well, we want to get information from Khan in whatever the best way feasible and that's what we're working on now.
QUESTION: Just follow up question. Sankei Shimbun. Saudi Arabia and countries like Syria and other Arabic countries -- are they included in the Khan's network, do you think?
UNDER SECRETARY BOLTON: Khan has confessed to selling nuclear weapons and nuclear fuel cycle technology and equipment to three countries: North Korea, Iran and Libya. We certainly want to obtain more information on those three countries, although obviously in the case of Libya, we think we've got it all -- we now have to assess it. But the issue whether Khan had a fourth customer or other customers is another issue and one that we take very seriously. We've heard that reports about other possible customers and we are certainly working on that I think it's not premature, not appropriate really, to say anything at this point. But obviously when you to look at the extent and the sophistication of Khan's network, the prospect that he or his associates have transferred this information to other countries or -- even equally troubling -- to terrorist groups, is something that requires our attention that we are focused on.
QUESTION: Can I go back to North Korea? Do you think China is putting enough pressure on North Korea or do you think they can do more? Can you go on background?
UNDER SECRETARY BOLTON: I will try to answer this one on the record. Look, there is no doubt -- of all the participants in the six-party talks, that China has the greatest influence on North Korea. There's no disagreement on that point. I think that we have acknowledged and expressed our appreciation to China for all the work that they've done in getting first three round of talks held. The ball's in North Korea's court. We're waiting for them to agree to come back to the table; we are waiting for their response to the U.S. proposal. We're waiting for them to make the same decision that Libya made -- that it's not in their national interest to pursue weapons of mass destruction. I think, while you can acknowledge and understand China's relationship with North Korea, the fundamental decision has to be a strategic conclusion that North Korea has come to that pursuing nuclear weapons is not their interest, and we therefore are awaiting the fourth round of talks and to see what their response to our proposal from June of last year is.
QUESTION: Do you think that North Korea will make that strategic decision without more, stronger pressure from China, like they show at least willingness to join the economic sanctions or bringing up to the Security Council or something like that?
UNDER SECRETARY BOLTON: I do not predict what the North Koreans are going to do. Yes, Sir?
QUESTION: Nippon TV. Do you believe that there can be no -- enough progress in talks with the North Korea, in no matter what framework, unless there should be a regime change?
UNDER SECRETARY BOLTON: Well, the objective that we've been pursuing in the six-party talks is to see if the North Koreans are willing to acknowledge that they're going to have to give up their nuclear weapons programs. This is the so-called CVID phrase -- Complete, Verifiable and Irreversible Dismantlement. Again, the case of Libya is an example of a regime that did exactly that, and that has stayed in power. So complete is the Libyan dismantlement of its nuclear program that its Libyan nuclear weapons program is now in Oakridge, Tennessee, and there is plenty of room there for the North Korean nuclear weapons program, too. That's what we're waiting to see and why we've been pressing to have the fourth round of six-party talks. It's time for North Koreans to come forward.
QUESTION: TV Asahi. As it was said before, President Bush referred very little about North Korea in his speech and do you think it was effective to some extent to let North Korea to join the six-party talks?
UNDER SECRETARY BOLTON: Our hope in helping to put together the six-party talks was to show that the North Korean nuclear weapons program is not an issue between North Korea and the United States. It's an issue between North Korea and the entire rest of the world. And the six-party talks represent the powers in the region that have the most at stake. Although there certainly other interested parties around the world, the European Union, Britain and France, the other two nuclear weapons states, and others as well, Canada, Australia. The six-party talks wasn't the only formulation we could've used, but it was certainly an appropriate one and one that we've supported. That's why our feeling has been that this is an environment in which the North Koreans can negotiate in a multilateral framework to give up their nuclear weapons program.
That's really the point of it -- we're not we are not going to back into the mode that proceeded to agreed framework of 1994, where it was a bilateral discussion with the United States, because it's not only our problem. The problem with North Korea is that it poses a threat to peace and security in the East Asia region, but it also poses to threat to peace and security worldwide because of the demonstrated propensity of North Koreans to proliferate ballistic missile technology, for example, into the Middle East and other aspects of weapons and mass destruction. So, really although there are six parties at the table, I think there's very broad international support for that process and for the proposition that the end result of the negotiation has to be the abandonment of the North Korean nuclear weapons program.
QUESTION: Is the United States Government willing to continue this framework even though North Korea doesn't come with a reasonable response to your proposal at the fourth round?
UNDER SECRETARY BOLTON: As I said, I don't want to be in that business predicting North Korean behavior, but before you can really answer that question we have to have the fourth round which means we have to have North Korea come back and we will see what they have to say. I think at this point we would evaluate where we are and go from there. I mean IAEA Board of Governors referred North Korea to the Security Council some time ago, it's on the agenda of the council, everybody knows that. I think that ought to be an incentive for the North Koreans to come back and have a fourth round of the six-party talks.
QUESTION: How long is your country going to be patient over the North Korea issue?
UNDER SECRETARY BOLTON: Well I guess I would say there, let's have the forth-round six-party talks. We are ready to go. We are ready to go, right now. I think all five other parties are prepared to talk. I don't really question that the burden would be on China to get the facilities ready and that certainly wouldn't take long. What we need to hear is from North Korea that they are prepared to come back.
QUESTION: If this is to be held tomorrow, who is going to lead the U.S. delegation?
UNDER SECRETARY BOLTON: Well, I don't know the answer to that, but we would certainly find somebody (laughter, inaudible). Jim Kelly has left the State Department, but I am sure that we've had a lot of people who have been at the three prior rounds and so I don't think that would be… Personalities change, you know, Mr. Yabunaka has left his position here in Japan. But Mr. Sasae is now in office and we are going through the same thing.
QUESTION: And yourself?
UNDER SECRETARY BOLTON: What about myself? Whenever Secretary Powell was asked about his status he always used to say, he serves at the pleasure to the President. What it says that bottom my commission, it says I "serve at the pleasure of the President for the time being." So, when people are ready to tell me what my fate is then I would accept, but I'm not going to speculate on it.
QUESTION: Do you think the Japan's abductions issue will be a burden to have the next round of the six-party talks?
UNDER SECRETARY BOLTON: I don't think the abduction issue was the burden in the talks. I think it's a legitimate issue for Japan to raise. They have raised it. In the six-party talks, the United States and statements it has made in the six-party talks has said that it's a legitimate issue to raise. I know how Americans would feel if some country were kidnapping our citizens, and I think it's perfectly understandable. This is -- there aren't any preconditions to these talks; it's appropriate for the parties to discuss what they want to discuss. Our view is has been, for example, that we're not going to make an issue of North Korea's chemical weapons program, its biological weapons program -- the disposition of its conventional forces on the Korean Peninsula or its human rights record, although those are all issues that need to be resolved -- that we would focus, for the purpose of these talks, on the nuclear program. But there's absolutely no reason why Japan shouldn't raise the abduction issue -- it can certainly pursue it in other ways as well, in bilateral discussions with North Korea, as it has been. But we support, we have supported, we would support Japan raising the issue in the context of the fourth round of six-party talks.
QUESTION: Many U.S. officials have expressed their interest in making these six-party talks, in the long term-long, into a regional security forum or something like that. If that is the case, where would Taiwan be?
QUESTION: Well, at our present rate of speed in the six-party talks, that is far in the future. So I would, I guess I would confine myself to saying I'd just be happy if North Korea came back to the table and we could address the issue that the six-party talks were designed to address. And fundamentally, the burden is on the North Koreans, to decide whether they're going to make these talks a success or not.
QUESTION: Mainichi Shimbun. I would like to ask about China. The United States and Japan will have a two-plus-two cabinet level meeting soon, and reportedly China will be one of the main topics in the talks. To what extent do you think the United States Government takes China as a security threat, and do you think the United States shares the level of concern with the Japanese Government?
UNDER SECRETARY BOLTON: I don't think it is a question of characterizing somebody as a security threat or not -- I think we look at the disposition of strategic forces around the world because of our global responsibilities and it's one reason we've been concerned. We've expressed our concern about the potential lifting of the EU arms embargo on China. We've been in discussions with the Europeans on the subject, both from the perspective of our concern about China's human rights performance, but also because of the impact in East Asia that access to sophisticated European technology by the Chinese military would have, in the region as a whole. Not just with respect to Taiwan, although that's obviously a concern, but in East Asia and the broader Pacific as well. So, a major part of my discussions here this week was on the subject of the EU arms embargo and what our view and what Japan's view of that was. I don't doubt that when the two-plus-two is scheduled that that will be an issue of discussion. But it won't be the first time -- this is something we've had ongoing conversations, bilaterally, between the United States and Japan for sometime now.
QUESTION: On the issue of EU arms embargo on China, on your speech on Monday, you advocated that Japan, EU and the U.S. should have a talk. I'm sure you made a proposal to the Japanese Government, but what was their reaction?
UNDER SECRETARY BOLTON: I think it was favorable. The idea here is that, as I say, if you go back to the days immediately after Tiananmen Square, the European governments -- through the European Union -- the United States and Japan, all imposed an arms embargo on China. They differed in some respects, although the U.S. and Japanese policy was really quite similar. The European embargo was a little bit different. The question now though, is how to proceed from where we are today. We have been concerned for some time that a precipitous lifting of the EU arms embargo would send the wrong signal to China -- send the wrong signal in human rights, send the wrong signal on the strategic balance here in East Asia, where Japan has palpable strategic interest and so does the United States, where the European Union's strategic interests are a little bit harder to see. At the moment, we don't really have an outcome to discuss but we've been having extensive consultations with Europeans, and obviously between United States and Japan. So, it's an ongoing issue and one that…because Dr. Rice is in Europe, I don't know exactly how her conversations are going, but I know that since she will be meeting with EU officials, and with the Luxemburg Presidency of the EU, plus she's had discussions with France and Britain and Germany on this subject, that we may have some clarification after her trip. Yes, Sir?
QUESTION: How would you describe a change, if any, in U.S. foreign policy in general after reshuffling the personnel?
UNDER SECRETARY BOLTON: Well, as I said earlier, I don't really think there's going to be much of a change because there's no difference in President Bush's approach from January 19th to January the 21st. I mean, he's still President -- he's still setting the policy. I think there are personnel changes that typically occur at the end of a president's first term when people move on to other assignments. The world changes, and therefore different circumstances present themselves, but the main outlines of the policy, I think, are going to remain the same -- the global war on terrorism, the concern not to let weapons of mass destruction fall into dangerous hands, and the spread of freedom and democracy as the President outlined in his inaugural address. I think that's all fundamentally the same.
QUESTION: How about the relations between the White House and the State Department?
UNDER SECRETARY BOLTON: Well, I would say because they work together so closely over the past four years and even before that, the model that you might think about it is closest to when James Baker was Secretary of State during the first Bush Administration, where they have a very close working relationship. I think Dr. Rice is as familiar with anybody else as what the President's policy is, other than the President himself. So, in terms of providing leadership at the State Department, I think that will be very helpful.
QUESTION: Who picked the high officials? Dr. Rice or the President?
UNDER SECRETARY BOLTON: Who picked…
QUESTION: Picked up the high officials? New persons in the State Department…
UNDER SECRETARY BOLTON: Well, it's obviously a combination decision between the White House and Secretary Rice. It's her team at the State Department, but these are all, at the senior levels, presidential appointments.
QUESTION: For example, on North Korea, the bottom line remains unchanged. But for example, on North Korea, the wording has been changing. For example, since December last year, Mr. Steven Hadley has been using the term "regime transformation." But I'm not sure over the difference between "regime change" and "regime transformation." Could you elaborate on that?
UNDER SECRETARY BOLTON: I think our policy on Korea for approximately 55 years now has been peaceful reunification of the peninsula. That's not regime change, or regime transformation -- that's the spread of democracy, and I just refer you in that case back to the inaugural address, which is consistent with that. Let me just say one other thing. The Libya example, again though, shows that if regime that makes the unequivocal decision to give up the pursuit of nuclear weapons, is a regime that can stay in power. That option is open both to North Korea and to Iran. That's it. Nice to see you all again.