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7/31/04 - FOLLOWING LIBYA’S LEAD - 2004-07-26

The top U.S. arms control official has called on North Korea to follow Libya’s example and abandon its nuclear weapons programs. Speaking at Yonsei University in Seoul, South Korea, U.S. Under-Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security John Bolton said that by abandoning its programs to develop weapons of mass destruction, Libya had gained “a new relationship with the United States and the world.”

Libya’s decision to disarm was followed by eased U.S. sanctions, improved business ties, and steps toward resuming diplomatic relations. “The United States has kept its word to Libya,” said Mr. Bolton, “and the evidence is plain for all to see, even Pyongyang.”

In October 2002, North Korea admitted having a secret uranium-enrichment program in violation of a 1994 agreement. The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency has estimated that North Korea already possesses one or possibly two nuclear weapons along with medium-range missiles capable of delivering them.

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs James Kelly says the United States will not permit another flawed agreement with North Korea:

“We seek the complete, verifiable and irreversible dismantlement of its nuclear programs, nothing less. We cannot accept another partial solution that does not deal with the entirety of the problem, allowing North Korea to threaten others continually with a revival of its nuclear program.”

Assistant Secretary Kelly said that since North Korea’s nuclear weapons programs threaten its neighbors, it can best be dealt with through multi-lateral diplomacy.