Armitage Downplays U.N. Setback
WASHINGTON, July 3, 2003--The United States will keep working with other nations toward peace on the Korean Peninsula despite a failed bid this week to get the U.N. Security Council to condemn Pyongyang's nuclear weapons program, a senior U.S. official told Radio Free Asia (RFA). Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage also described China as an �excellent partner� in dealing with North Korea.
Moscow and Beijing "have some concerns about this [U.S.-sponsored Security Council resolution]," Armitage said in an interview broadcast early Friday in Asia. "I think they�re not the only ones who have some concerns. We who are often accused of being unilateralists are interested in trying to resolve these issues in multilateral forums like the United Nations, but we�re taking into consideration the views of others such as China and Russia."
China and Russian this week sought to delay a U.N. Security Council condemnation of North Korea's nuclear weapons program, after a senior North Korean general said any U.S.-led sanctions would amount to a break of the armistice than ended the 1950-53 Korean War.
�There are many people who are very interested in rushing the international community along on this issue of North Korea. This is one that�s going to require dialogue. It�s going to require, I think, a lot of patience,� he said. �And although it may be somewhere considered that patience is an Asian virtue, it�s something that the United States has. And the President has expressed his desire time and time again for a peaceful resolution of this question through dialogue in a multilateral context, and we�ll continue to search for that solution.�
�We find China has been a very dependable and important partner in searching for a peaceful solution in North Korea,� Armitage said. He added that both he and Secretary of State Colin Powell had personally thanked Chinese Deputy Foreign Minister Wong Yi this week when the Chinese official visited Washington.
Russia is also playing a more constructive role, Armitage said. While �our Russian friends can speak for themselves, it�s clearly not in Russia�s interest, either, for North Korea to develop further these nuclear capabilities,� he said. �We�ve found China to be an excellent partner, Russia becoming a much better partner, and we�ll continue the search for a peaceful solution.�
�It seems to me that a year or so ago, no one could have imagined the kind of cooperation we�ve had with China on this issue, and no one could have imagined this kind of cooperation from the Russian Federation,� he said.
Asked whether Washington sought regime change in Pyongyang, Armitage replied: �No, the desired goal is a government in Pyongyang that eschews the possession of nuclear weapons--that is, a de-nuclearized peninsula--and a country which is not a threat to our friends in the Republic of Korea [South Korea] and which treats their population with dignity and respect. That is the goal.�
The United States won�t seek to lead talks on North Korea, he said. �Success will have a thousand fathers. And only failure will be an orphan. And it may be that different countries take the lead in different aspects. Maybe, in the arrangement of multilateral meetings, it might be Beijing who has the most influence. Maybe ultimately, in the ability to care for and feed the people of North Korea, it�s the United States who has the most influence,� Armitage said.
�I don�t think that there is a particular need for someone to grab the flag and hold it up high throughout these discussions. I think it will shift and change as developments occur."
RFA broadcasts news and information to Asian listeners who lack regular access to full and balanced reporting in their domestic media. Through its broadcasts and call-in programs, RFA aims to fill a critical gap in the lives of people across Asia. Created by Congress in 1994 and incorporated in 1996, RFA currently broadcasts in Burmese, Cantonese, Khmer, Korean, Lao, Mandarin, the Wu dialect, Vietnamese, Tibetan (Uke, Amdo, and Kham), and Uyghur. It adheres to the highest standards of journalism and aims to exemplify accuracy, balance, and fairness in its editorial content. #####