VARIOUS: U.S. ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton says Washington is committed to a diplomatic solution with North Korea over missiles, latestRecord ID: 491386
- Title: VARIOUS: U.S. ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton says Washington is committed to a diplomatic solution with North Korea over missiles, latest
- Date: 23rd June 2006
- Summary: (BN01) UNITED NATIONS (JUNE 22, 2006) (AGENCY POOL) U.S. AMBASSADOR JOHN BOLTON WALKS TOWARDS MEDIA JOURNALIST WITH TAPE RECORDER (SOUNDBITE) (English) JOHN BOLTON, UNITED STATES AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS, SAYING: "As the president has made clear, our effort at the moment is to use diplomatic persuasion so that the North Koreans don't launch the missiles and that's what we're focused on right now." BOLTON DEPARTS
- Reuters ID: LVA2DVEXP77FVW3BMXPUFEMMX2VP
- Duration: 00:00:31
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- Topics: Defence / Military
- Story Text: The United States has been saying for about a week there is evidence North Korea may test-fire its Taepodong-2 missile and on Thursday (June 22) Japan's defence minister said Tokyo had mobilised naval vessels and aircraft to gather information.
But in an interview with CNN, U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney seemed to downplay the threat from North Korea's missile programme, saying Pyongyang's missile capabilities were "fairly rudimentary".
Cheney, according to a transcript of the CNN interview, said North Korea seems to have improved the range of its missiles but suggested the programme still lacked sophistication.
U.S. ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton said on Thursday Washington was committed to a diplomatic solution and ready for negotiations.
"As the president has made clear, our effort at the moment is to use diplomatic persuasion so that the North Koreans don't launch the missiles and that's what we're focused on right now," said Bolton.
A former U.S. envoy said on Friday (June 23) that Washington had made a mistake by not maintaining continuous dialogue with Pyongyang.
Donald Gregg, U.S. ambassador to South Korea from 1989 to 1993 under then President George H.W. Bush, warned hardliners in Washington that it would not be in the best interests of U.S. foreign policy to push Pyongyang even farther into isolation.
He said there was "a chasm of mistrust" between the current Bush administration and North Korea.
"I think if there is a missile fire, I think it will deal another very severe blow to the six-party talks, I think that may lead into a long arid period between now and our presidential election where the North Koreans will move forward with whatever it is they are doing on missiles. They will become more comfortable with that, they will become more technically proficient and the price for getting them to give up those capabilities will rise higher," added Gregg during a news conference in Seoul.
White House national security adviser Stephen Hadley has said it was still uncertain whether North Korea actually planned to test-fire the multi-stage Taepodong-2 missile.
North Korea said on Wednesday (June 21) it wanted new direct talks with the United States.
Washington refused, demanding instead that Pyongyang return to the stalled six-way talks aimed at coaxing the North to scrap its weapons programme in return for aid and security promises.
The talks, grouping the two Koreas, China, Japan, Russia and the United States, have not convened since November. This followed a crackdown by Washington on firms suspected of helping Pyongyang's counterfeiting and other illicit activities.
Foreign executives explored both the potential and the risk of investing in North Korea as they toured an industrial park on Thursday. Around 200 executives, diplomats and journalists visited the Kaesong Industrial Park.
The park, run by an affiliate of the Hyundai group, is located just a few hundred metres (yards) north of the Demilitarised Zone that divides the peninsula. It is about 70 km (45 miles) northwest of Seoul.
Seoul sees the Kaesong Industrial Park as a model of integration between the capitalist and communist economies of the two Koreas, and perhaps easing eventual unification.
Some tourists saw great potential, noting the large amount of land for the project, good prices and proximity to Seoul and its transport hubs. But many tour participants emphasised the political and social implications of a South Korean-run complex in the North.
There are currently 15 South Korean companies in the industrial park, manufacturing goods ranging from cosmetic cases to watches to shirts and fishing shoes. Of the park's 8,361 workers, 7,723 are North Korean, Hyundai Asan said.
South Korean factories at Kaesong pay a minimum monthly wage of $50 USD for workers along with a $7.50 USD fee for social insurance, for a 48-hour workweek. The money is not paid directly to the workers, but instead goes to the North Korean government, which then dispenses the wages.
In Tokyo defence experts said there was little chance that either the United States or North Korea would act upon threats against each other.
"Well, even if we think there is a one percent risk of North Korean retaliation. What could that retaliation be?" asked Robert Dujarric, visiting fellow from the National Institute of Public Policy in the United States in reference to U.S. politicians calling for a pre-emptive strike at North Korea.
"For example it could be to fire a large number of artillery shells at Seoul... you've got probably tens of thousands of people killed in Seoul, at least. You are going to get enormous anti-U.S. reaction in South Korea. Because rightly or wrongly they will say "we blame the American's for what happened to us," said Dujarric, adding these reasons would be sufficient deterrents for a U.S. attack on the Taepodong launch pad.
William Perry, former U.S. President Bill Clinton's secretary of defence, and Ashton Carter, an assistant secretary of defence under Clinton, argued in a commentary in The Washington Post that the United States should state its intention to destroy the Taepodong-2 before it can be fired if the North Koreans persist in their launch preparations.
Other analysts say North Korea is unlikely to push the final launch button and a pre-emptive attack would be futile.
"If I am a North Korea I would think it wasteful to use this launch. The launch is the higher coercive use of missile. Missile activities is easier in lower end of the missile coercive activity," said Narushige Michishita of Japan's National Institute for Defence Studies, arguing that North Korea would loose all its bargaining chips if it went ahead and test launched its missile.
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