Rumsfeld: North Korea Test Threat Must Be Taken Seriously
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Oct. 5, 2006 North Korea is a known weapon proliferator, and there is a danger that the rogue state may sell nuclear technology to non-state entities, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said today.
Rumsfeld spoke during an impromptu Pentagon news conference following meetings with Croatian Defense Minister Berislav Roncevic.
The secretary said the North Korean threat to test nuclear weapons must be taken seriously. He said the North Korean regime has claimed to have nuclear arms since 2003. “We have no way of knowing,” if they have nuclear weapons or not, he said.
The danger to the world is that if the regime does have nuclear arms, it already has demonstrated its willingness to sell the technology to the highest bidder. Non-state actors or terrorist groups are actively seeking weapons of mass destruction. They have no compunction about using those weapons, and they have no hard targets that the civilized world could threaten, Rumsfeld said.
The secretary said diplomacy is still the way ahead in addressing the issue. He said President Bush has pushed the Six-Party Talks – U.S., South Korea, China, Russia, Japan and North Korea – as the way forward.
If North Korea does test a nuclear weapon, then the international community is going to have to examine the situation to understand why the world could not marshal “the cooperation and cohesion to apply leverage to North Korea” to stop the spread of nuclear arms, he said.
The example of North Korea could encourage other states to develop nuclear capabilities, too, he said. It would lower the threshold for these nations.