US State Department says North Korea must 'de-nuclearise'

Posted: 11/21/2010
US Department of State
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QUESTION: ISIS released a satellite image yesterday of a construction site in North Korea, which makes it a bigger possibility that the North Koreans are creating a light-water reactor. How will this impact future Six-Party Talks? And given that the U.S. has already sanctioned North Korea pretty strictly, what other specific pressures can the U.S. apply?
MR. CROWLEY: Well, as we have said all along, we want to see North Korea take affirmative steps toward denuclearization. It has to demonstrate a willingness to meet its international obligations and, in fact, follow commitments that it has made under the 2005 joint statement. If North Korea takes the kinds of steps that we’ve outlined, we’re prepared to respond accordingly.
But what North Korea needs to understand is that it cannot have its cake and eat it too. It continues to act in a way that presumes that it can have a nuclear program and it can have normal relations with the rest of the world, including the United States. This is really an either-or proposition. If it wishes to have normal relations with the United States it is going to have to give up its nuclear programs.
QUESTION: If it’s either-or, what moves left does the U.S. have?
MR. CROWLEY: Well, the ball is in North Korea’s court. And to the extent that it continues to pursue nuclear programs, then that is going to have an effect on the prospect of better relations with the United States. If it follows its commitments and if it meets its international obligations then the door opens to a different kind of relationship.
QUESTION: P.J., I don’t understand. They have to give up their -- all of their nuclear programs? I mean, part of the deal was that you were going to help them with light-water reactors.
MR. CROWLEY: Well, but -- and if they take affirmative steps to denuclearize, we are prepared to have a conversation about how to meet North Korea’s legitimate energy needs. But it has to follow through on the commitments that it’s made under the 2005 joint statement.
QUESTION: So they are not allowed – you’re not – you’re saying that they are not allowed at the moment to pursue even a civilian nuclear energy?
MR. CROWLEY: Well, and the fact is that --
QUESTION: Which is what a light-water reactor would --
MR. CROWLEY: And the fact is that that’s the crux of the issue that in its nuclear programs North Korea is not pursuing a civilian nuclear program by itself. It is a proliferator. It has a military program. That military program poses a danger to the region and to the rest of the world. North Korea has made a commitment to denuclearize, and we expect North Korea to live up to its commitments.
QUESTION: P.J., does the U.S. Government have a view now on whether what Ambassador Pritchard and Dr. Hecker have described as the beginnings of a light-water reactor at – being built at Yongbyon is indeed a – the beginnings of a light-water reactor being built at Yongbyon and not an ice skating rink or something else? I mean, do you have a view on this or not?
MR. CROWLEY: Well, we are sorting through the information that they have provided us.
QUESTION: But do you not – have you not achieved a judgment yet, or you have achieved a judgment – arrived at a judgment and you just can’t share it with us?
MR. CROWLEY: I’m – there’s a limit to what I can share.
QUESTION: Thank you.
MR. CROWLEY: All right, hold on.
QUESTION: P.J., Ambassador Pritchard said North Korea wants to build a light-water reactor for power generation by 2012.
QUESTION: So do you think their intentions are credible?
MR. CROWLEY: Well, but again, the first step in this process is that North Korea has to take affirmative steps to denuclearize, and it’s because its nuclear programs up to this point pose a very severe proliferation risk to the region and to the world. We are prepared to have a discussion with North Korea on how to meet its energy requirements, but North Korea has to take affirmative steps to denuclearize first.
QUESTION: Thank you.