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Rumsfeld: U.S. Plans to Consult Allies on North Korean Nuke Violations

By Kathleen T. Rhem
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 17, 2002 – United States government officials will consult with friends and allies on what to do about North Korea's admission that it has been developing nuclear weapons, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said today.

North Korean officials reportedly admitted to an American diplomat that they have an active nuclear weapons program in defiance of the so- called Agreed Framework. In this agreement, North Korea promised in 1994 that it would freeze its nuclear program.

"It is a reality that they stand in direct breach of four separate agreements, by their own admission," Rumsfeld said in a Pentagon press briefing. The other three agreements North Korea has violated are the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, the International Atomic Energy Agency Safeguards Agreement, and the North-South Denuclearization Agreement.

Rumsfeld said U.S. officials will be speaking to Japan and South Korean counterparts, as well as representatives of the People's Republic of China, Russia and possibly the European Union.

He indicated U.N. weapons inspectors in North Korea are not a likely option at this point, since the country has already admitted its violations.

"The idea of inspectors ought to be considered in the context of a cooperative government," Rumsfeld said. "The idea of inspections is when a country says, 'We've decided that we want to conform to international standards and agree to international resolutions and requirements and agreements. We're going to cooperate, and we'd like to prove we're not doing any of these things. Therefore, we'd like inspectors to come in and validate that truth for the entire world.'"

The secretary declined to say whether the North Korean revelations have affected the posture of U.S. troops in South Korea, citing Defense Department policy regarding such announcements.

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