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North Korea Poses Double Threat, Rumsfeld Says

By John D. Banusiewicz
American Forces Press Service

NICE, France, Feb. 10, 2005 – With regard to nuclear weapons, North Korea poses a two-fold threat, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said here today.

During a news conference at NATO's informal meeting of defense ministers, the secretary said that country has had a behavior pattern of being one of the world's leading proliferators of ballistic missile technology.

North Korea's proliferation pattern makes it a "worrisome" threat, Rumsfeld said, noting the country also has a history of violating international agreements.

The second aspect of the threat, he said, stems from North Korea's leadership. "Given their dictatorial regime and the repression of their own people, one has to worry about weapons of that power in the hands of leadership of that nature," he said. "I don't think that anyone would characterize the leadership in that country as being restrained."

The secretary was careful to point out that he can't confirm authoritatively that North Korea has nuclear weapons. "I'm told that today in the press they indicated they do, but they've indicated other things from time to time that haven't necessarily proved out," he said.

Rumsfeld said some intelligence reports indicate the claim is true. "I know there are countries whose intelligence (estimates) say that they have them, and they say that they have them, and they may have them," he said, "but I don't want to confirm that because I just can't do that."

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