Powell: U.S. Ready to Fund "Irreversible" Dismantling of North Korean Nukes


Listen to the full interview

U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell (L). PHOTO: U.S. Department of State

Washington, DC — ; In an interview Aug. 12 with RFA's Diplomatic Reporter Arin Basu and a group of Japanese journalists, Secretary of State Colin Powell said the United States would help bear the cost of dismantling North Korea's plutonium and highly enriched uranium program. However, he said North Korea has to agree to "totally irreversible" dismantlement. In the broad-ranging interview, Secretary Powell also told RFA that Uyghur Muslims detained at Guantanamo Bay on charges of terrorism would not be returned to China. He said the Uyghurs "are not going to China" but where they will be relocated remains unresolved.

On Burma, Secretary Powell said that the international community must do more to put pressure on the Burmese regime. He said Burma is missing a "golden opportunity" to democratize. It is not enough, he said, for Burma to simply have a road map to democracy "if it's not a real road map and if it doesn't allow for pluralistic activities within the political system." He added that if Aung San Suu Kyi continues to be denied political participation the United State would seek "other levers" to apply against the regime.

Read excerpts from the interview with RFA's Arin Basu:

RFA: Can the Nunn-Lugar program be applied to North Korea? If North Korea decides to dismantle its program, would you give them money and expertise to jointly dismantle, the way it was done in the Soviet Union?

Listen to Colin Powell's answer on North Korea

SECRETARY POWELL: I don't know whether it would be under the Nunn-Lugar framework, but certainly if North Korea moves in this direction we understand that outside resources would be needed to help North Korea. I think the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) would have a role to play and all of the other parties to the six-party talks would have a role to play.

RFA: In money and expertise?

SECRETARY POWELL: Under the Agreed Framework we had experts who were monitoring things in North Korea, as was the IAEA, but I think just as we did with Libya in helping to remove the burden that it had of these programs, we would certainly help North Korea.

It's important to say, though, it has to be done in the context of something that is totally irreversible and it has to be done in the context of the entire program, all aspects of the program, and it has to be an acknowledgement of not only the previous programs of plutonium, but the enriched uranium programs as well.

So, in that context, and that's the six-party talks, certainly the United States would be willing to assist with the cost of removal, destruction and total elimination of the programs.

RFA: What would be the fate of the Uyghur detainees at Guantanamo Bay? Are they going to be given asylum in the U.S.? We understand they're not going to be sent back to China. Are they going to be relocated to a third country?

Listen to Colin Powell's answer on the Uyghur detainees

SECRETARY POWELL: The Uyghurs are a difficult problem and we are trying to resolve all issues with respect to all detainees at Guantanamo. The Uyghurs are not going back to China, but finding places for them is not a simple matter. We are trying to find places for them, and, of course, all candidate countries are being looked at.

RFA: Democracy in Burma has not progressed an inch. There is no evidence that the U.S. sanctions on Burma have, in any way, in any significant way, affected the military junta. The national convention was held without the NLD (National League for Democracy) participation. What more can the U.S. and the international community do?

Listen to Colin Powell's answer on Burma

SECRETARY POWELL: I'm disappointed that the Government of Burma has not moved in a positive direction with respect to democracy, with respect to letting Aung San Suu Kyi participate, and her party participate, in the political life of Burma. I think Burma is missing a golden opportunity.

The United States has, perhaps, been the most outspoken country in the world on this subject, and we have not only been outspoken, but we have used what we can with our sanctions policy to express our displeasure to the Burmese Government.

I do it at every one of my Asia meetings. I do it every year at the ASEAN Regional Forum. And rather than saying, 'What more can the United States do?', what more can the rest of the international community do, because not all members of the international community have spoken out as clearly on this issue and have taken the actions they might take to put pressure on the regime.

And so we will continue to put pressure on the regime. We will not have a satisfactory relationship with Burma until this matter is resolved. And it is not enough to say, 'Well, we have a road map to democracy,' if it is not a real road map and if it doesn't allow pluralistic activities within the political system. And as long as Aung San Suu Kyi is denied the opportunity to participate in the political life of Burma, and her party is so denied, then we will continue to speak out strongly and find out if there are any other levers one can apply against the regime.


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