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Press Conference by North Korea's Ambassador to U.N.

Aired January 10, 2003 - 11:00   ET


DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: Right now, we go live to the United Nations. This is North Korea's ambassador to the United Nations.
Let's listen in.


PAK GIL YON, NORTH KOREAN AMB. TO U.N.: ... Atomic Energy Agency to adopt another resolution against the DPRK on January 6 in the wake of a similar resolution made on November 29, 2002.

Under its manipulation, the IAEA in those resolutions termed the DPRK a criminal and demanded it scrap what the United States called a nuclear program at once.

(inaudible) in this regard of the nature of the nuclear issue, a product of the United States' hostile policy towards the DPRK and its unique status in which it declared the suspension of the effectuation of its withdrawal from the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, NPT.

Following the adoption of their latest resolution, the IAEA director general issued an ultimatum that the agency would bring the matter to the United Nations Security Council to apply sanctions against the DPRK unless it implements the resolution in a few weeks.

PAK: This clearly proves that the IAEA still remains a servant and a spokesman for the United States. And the NPT is being used as a tool for implementing the United States hostile policy toward the DPRK, aimed to disarm it and destroy its system by force.

And particular mention should be made of the fact that the IAEA in recent resolution kept mum about the United States, which has grossly violated the NPT and the DPRK-USA Agreed Framework, but urged the DPRK (inaudible) to unconditionally accept the United States demand for disarmament and forfeit its right to self-defense. And the agency was praised for the United States for saying all what the United States wanted to do. This glaringly reveals the forceful (ph) and hypocrisy of the signboard of the impartiality the IAEA put up.

The DPRK government vehemently rejects and denounces this resolution of the IAEA, considering it as a great encroachment upon our country's sovereignty and dignity of the nation. It is none other than United States, which wrecks peace and security on the Korean Peninsula and drives the situation there to an extremely dangerous face.

PAK: After the appearance of the Bush administration, the United States listed the DPRK as part of an axis of evil, adopting it as a national policy to oppose its system and single out it as a target of preemptive nuclear attack, (inaudible) declaring a nuclear war.

Systematically violating the DPRK-USA Agreed Framework, the United States brought up another nuclear suspicion and has stopped the supply of heavy oil, reduced the Agreed Framework to a dead document. It also answered the DPRK's sincere proposal for a conclusion of the DPRK-USA Non-aggression Treaty and its patient efforts for negotiations with such a threat as (inaudible) and a mutually punishment and with such an arrogant attitude as blasting (ph) that it may talk, but negotiations are impossible.

The United States went so far to instigate the IAEA to internationalize its moves to stifle the DPRK, putting its declaration of a war into practice. This has eliminated the last possibility of solving the nuclear issue of the Korean Peninsula in a peaceful and fair way.

It was due to such nuclear war moves of the United States against the DPRK and the partiality of the IAEA that the DPRK was compelled to declare its withdrawal from the NPT in March 1993, when a touch-and-go situation was created on the Korean Peninsula.

As it has become clear once again that the the United States persistently thinks to stifle the DPRK at any cost, and the IAEA is used as a tool for erecting the U.S. hostile policy towards the DPRK, we can no longer remain bound to the NPT, allowing their countries the security and the dignity of our nation to the infringed upon.

Under a grave situation where our state's supreme interests are most seriously threatened, the DPRK government adopts the foregoing decisions to protect their sovereignty of their country and the nation and the right to existence and dignity.

PAK: Firstly, the DPRK government declares an automatic and immediate effectuation of its withdrawal from the NPT on which it unilaterally announced a moratorium as long as it deemed necessary according to the June 11, 1993, DPRK-U.S. joint statement, now that the U.S. has unilaterally abandoned its commitments to stop nuclear threat and renounce hostility towards the DPRK, in line with the same statement.

Secondly, it declares that the DPRK, withdrawn from the NPT, is totally from the binding force (ph) of the Safeguards Agreement with the IAEA under its Article 3. The withdrawal from the NPT is a legitimate self-defensive measure taken against the United States moves to stifle the DPRK and unreasonable behavior of the IAEA following the United States.

Though we pull out of the NPT, we have no intention to produce nuclear weapons and our nuclear activities at this stage will be confined only to peaceful purposes, such as the production of electricity.

If the United States drops its hostile policy to stifle the DPRK and stops it's nuclear threat to the DPRK, the DPRK may prove through a separate verification between the DPRK and the United States that it does not make any nuclear weapon.

The United States and the IAEA will never evade their responsibilities for compelling the DPRK to withdraw from the NPT by ignoring the DPRK's last efforts to seek a peaceful settlement of the nuclear issue through negotiations. Unquote.

I thank you, everybody. The floor is open.

QUESTION: Thank you for your statement. I wonder if you could characterize for us how you see the atmosphere at the moment in the peninsula.

QUESTION: In other words, are we moving closer to a military confrontation? Have the North Korean military forces been placed on a heightened state of alert? Should we be concerned about war?

PAK: I never heard such developments on the Korean Peninsula. As far as the peninsula itself, it is peaceful, nor such a situation happen now. But only due to such a very, very confrontation policy of military nature from the United States, now situation getting worse and worse. I think nobody can predict any situation might happen in the future; only due to the United States behaviors.

QUESTION: Ambassador, the United States has offered North Korea to talk, but not negotiate. Do you reject that offer of dialogue, or what is your position?

PAK: As far as such press announcement is concerned, I haven't heard any official statement from the right persons are concern, but I read such press coverage locally every day.

But we have maintained consistently that the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula should be resolved through the negotiations by peaceful means by the DPRK and United States, the directly parties concerned of the issue. We always believed that negotiation can be made only that both sides agreed to do. But the United States now say: That we may talk to you how to comply with the international obligations, but we'll not negotiate; we'll not negotiate with you.

PAK: I think this is not a sincere attitude of the negotiators.

QUESTION: May I ask, on what condition will your country will return to NPT? If KEDO will provide heavy oil, at that time you will decide to return to NPT?

PAK: I don't want to comment anything. We never say any possibility of returning to the NPT. We decided, my government decide to withdraw from the NPT effectively from tomorrow. Immediately.

QUESTION: You've said it in your statement previously, said that North Korea is only looking to use or follow a nuclear program for peaceful purposes. And I wonder, that's kind of out of sync with pulling out of the NPT, which is an attempt to stop the spread of nuclear technology for the use in weapons.

I wonder why, if you're going to pursue a nuclear program only for peaceful purposes, you thought it was necessary to pull out of the NPT, which is a nonproliferation regime.

PAK: The withdrawal from the NPT was originated from such a nuclear threat from the United States side. And there was DPRK and the United States, a joint statement on June 11, 1993, and one year later there was agreed framework between the DPRK and the United States by which the USA made a commitment not to make any nuclear threat against the DPRK.

But in real term, they systematically violated such obligations under such a joint statement and agreed framework.

Now, so this NPT, as well as the IAEA, are being used as a tool for the exaction (ph) of the U.S. policy against the DPRK, by which situation by which our supreme national interest of the DPRK and dignity are seriously threatened.

Under these circumstances, my government is compelled to take such a decision. As was clearly mentioned in the government statement of my country today, our nuclear activities will be confined at this moment purely for the peaceful purposes, such as generation of electricity. But the future developments will entirely depend on the attitude of the United States.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) follow up on that, sir, you talked also that this issue should be between only the U.S. and DPRK. But by pulling out of the NPT you've effectively internationalized this, potentially bringing in the Security Council. How would your country react if, in fact, the Security Council did take this up as an agenda item?

QUESTION: For instance, more economic sanctions on your country.

PAK: I think you may remember very clearly that any kind of the sanctions to be taken by the Security Council or anywhere, we will consider it as a declaration of war against the DPRK.


PAK: ... we always tried to use such nuclear energy for the peaceful purposes. This is our position, consistent position of my government.

QUESTION: Just to clarify, are you saying you are not aware, you don't know whether your country possesses nuclear weapons or not currently?

PAK: I'm not in a position to comment anything on that.

QUESTION: How will your government respond to a, quote/unquote, "declaration of war" if the United Nations Security Council imposes sanctions to your country?

PAK: I think I already replied to such...

QUESTION: How will you respond to a declaration of war? PAK: We will consider -- we consider now, even now, any kind of economic sanctions to be taken by the Security Council of the United Nations against the DPRK is a declaration of war.

QUESTION: How will you respond to that declaration of war if that happens?

PAK: I think it will depend on the circumstances. I cannot predict anything.

QUESTION: Can you characterize the current relationship between your government and the new government of South Korea?

PAK: I don't want to make any comment at this moment.

QUESTION: Mr. Ambassador, could you tell us why you decided to send two of your diplomats to New Mexico to meet former Ambassador Bill Richardson? Why you chose him and what you're hoping that that negotiation will accomplish.

PAK: As far as my knowledge is concerned, Ambassador Han (ph), the deputy permanent representative of my mission, and his assistant, are now in New Mexico as a guest of Mr. Bill Richardson. And that means my ambassador, Mr. Han (ph), has been invited by Mr. Bill Richardson. This is all what I know.

QUESTION: You can't give us any information on what you're hoping might come out of those talks? I'm sure you heard from them. They met last night.

PAK: And if I get any information or any details from his meeting with Mr. Bill Richardson, I'll be very happy to let you know. But unfortunately at this moment I don't have anything. I haven't heard anything, except just very, very happy arrival there yesterday afternoon.

QUESTION: Will they meet today, too?

PAK: I beg your pardon?

QUESTION: Will they meet today, too? Bill Richardson and Mr. Han (ph).

PAK: I think so, although I do not have any details of the schedule.


PAK: I beg your pardon?

QUESTION: What time is the meeting today?

PAK: I do not have any details of the schedule of the meetings by Mr. Bill Richardson and the schedule of stay there.

QUESTION: How would the United States have to react today to your -- to this announcement for North Korea to consider returning to the NPT? And where does it stand with -- is it still a nonaggression pact or is it more -- what would you want to see today, reaction from the United States?

PAK: I haven't heard anything yet.

QUESTION: No, what do you want to see, though? Can you just enunciate what you want to see today to change these decisions, this latest decision?

PAK: Today's decision is mainly related with the NPT. And as far as the relations or negotiations or talks with the United States are concerned...


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