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Powell:  N. Korea Can Expect No Rewards For Giving Up Nuclear Program - 2002-10-29


Secretary of State Colin Powell says North Korea can expect no new rewards from the United States and its allies in return for giving up the nuclear weapons program it confessed to having two weeks ago. He says ending the program is a pre-condition for Western aid and recognition.

The United States thought it had ended North Korea's nuclear program with the 1994 "agreed framework" accord that included major economic benefits for Pyongyang. And at a news conference here ending top-level U.S.-Australian security talks, Mr. Powell served notice on North Korea that it can expect no similar reward for stopping the uranium enrichment program it admitted to earlier this month.

The secretary said the United States is not going to buy an end to North Korea's nuclear program a second time. He said the only way for North Korea to get the wider diplomatic recognition it wants, and the outside aid it desperately needs, is to first give up its nuclear weapons ambitions:

"No North Korean child can eat enriched uranium. No North Korean peasant is going to get a job enriching uranium," he said. "It is fool's gold for North Korea. And the sooner they realize it, and give it up, and start to get about the possibility, the prospect, of joining a world that wants to try to help them if they will start to behave in a responsible way, the better off they will be and the better off the people of North Korea will be."

Mr. Powell's remarks were endorsed by Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer, whose government been a major financial backer of the 1994 framework, under which North Korea is getting nuclear power plants and interim supplies of fuel oil. He said North Korean leaders should know "there will be no reward for bad behavior."

"If they want to advance their interests, if they want to generate jobs, if they want to have a greater capacity to feed their own people, develop their own economy, then they have to get back to the agreed framework, adhere to the parameters of the agreed framework, and they have to abandon uranium enrichment," he said. "And so this is a message we've transmitted already to the North Koreans. And Secretary Powell says with the United States, with South Korea, with Japan, we've all pretty much come to this one conclusion."

The two-day U.S.-Australian dialogue, which also included the two countries' defense chiefs, was otherwise dominated by discussion of Iraq and the war against terrorism. A joint communique said the October 12 bombings in Bali, Indonesia, which killed scores of Australian tourists, among others demonstrated the need for continued steadfastness and resolve in the terrorism fight.

It said the United States and Australian governments are committed to working with Indonesia on the case, and expressed "their strongest resolve" to hunt down the perpetrators and bring them to justice.