Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Wednesday North Korea will
soon produce its long-overdue declaration of its nuclear programs and
activities. Rice defended Bush administration policy on the North Korea
nuclear issue in an address to the Heritage Foundation, a conservative
Washington research organization. VOA's David Gollust reports from the
Rice did not cite reasons for her optimism,
but said she expects the declaration to be handed over to the Chinese
sponsors of the six-party talks soon, and that the United States will
respond by moving to take North Korea off its list of state sponsors
of terrorism and dropping related sanctions.
Pyongyang was to
have issued the declaration at the end of last year, revealing all its
nuclear programs, holdings and activities including any involvement in
The lack of the declaration has slowed
implementation of the six-party accord, under which North Korea is to
give up its nuclear program including weapons in return for aid and
diplomatic benefits from the other parties.
skeptical about dealing with North Korea's communist government, have
been prominent critics of the six-party process.
In her speech
to the Heritage Foundation, Rice stressed that the United States has
given North Korea no significant benefits thus far beyond shipments of
heavy fuel oil, and that bad faith by Pyongyang at any point in the
process would scuttle the deal.
But she said the United States
will keep its end of the bargain if North Korea does the same,
including reciprocal steps tied to the promised declaration:
Korea will soon give its declaration of nuclear programs to China, the
chair of the denuclearization working group," said Condoleezza Rice.
"President Bush would then notify Congress of our intention to remove
North Korea from the State sponsors of terrorism list, and to cease the
application of the Trading with the Enemy Act. In the next 45 days
after that, before those actions go into effect, we would continue to
assess the level of North Korean cooperation, in helping to verify the
accuracy and completeness of its declaration. If that cooperation is
insufficient, we will respond accordingly."
Rice said the United
States will not just trust Pyongyang on its declaration and
disarmament, but demand on rigorous verification including on-site
inspection and sampling, and interviews with North Koreas involved in
She said the United States already knows North
Korean produced enough plutonium for several nuclear weapons including
the device it tested in 2006, and provided nuclear technology to Syria.
she said U.S. officials have yet to learn, and will insist on being
told of, the full extent of North Korean proliferation activity and get
a complete account of a what she described as a troubling
uranium-enrichment effort by that country.
Rice further assured
her audience that the nuclear deal will not stop the United States from
pressing for improvement in what she termed the horrible and deplorable
condition of the North Korean people.
She said U.S special
envoy for North Korean human rights Jay Lefkowitz will soon travel to
the region to discuss U.S. concerns with North Korea's neighbors.
herself is due to begin an Asian tour next week starting with a meeting
of G-8 foreign ministers in Japan. The chief U.S. envoy to the
six-party talks, Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill, is
traveling in the region this week.