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2008/11/06 11:28 KST
NORTH KOREA NEWSLETTER NO. 28 (November 6, 2008)


Major Statements by U.S. President-elect Barack Obama on North Korea

- We have not explored any kind of dialogue with either Iran or North Korea, and I think that has been a mistake. As a consequence, we have almost no leverage over them. We end up having to use surrogates in order to try to communicate to them to find out what their interests are, what their bottom lines are and to send clear messages to them about what we think is acceptable or unacceptable. So I think military options always have to remain on the table, but I think that when we leave all the other tools in the tool kit, then we are doing a disservice to the American people. (MSNBC Meet the Press, October 22, 2006)

- You know, what I would do is, at this point, given the provocation of the recent nuclear test, I think let's try to get these sanctions to work. I think the administration - which had not done a very good job on the North Korea issue, partly because it had been bogged down in Iraq - right now is taking some of the right steps. Let's reconvene the six-party talks. China and South Korea are central to those efforts. But I think that in time it would make sense for us to initiate some bilateral conversations on - in parallel with the six-party talks, partly because it would strengthen, I think, the commitment of China and South Korea to really put some pressure on North Korea. (MSNBC Meet the Press, October 22, 2006)

- I would (meet separately, without precondition, during the first year of my administration, in Washington or anywhere else, with the leaders of North Korea). And the reason is this, that the notion that somehow not talking to countries is punishment to them -- which has been the guiding diplomatic principle of this administration -- is ridiculous. Now, Ronald Reagan and Democratic presidents like JFK constantly spoke to Soviet Union at a time when Ronald Reagan called them an evil empire. And the reason is because they understood that we may not trust them and they may pose an extraordinary danger to this country, but we had the obligation to find areas where we can potentially move forward. (Fourth Democratic Presidential Candidate Debate, July 24, 2007)

- I will meet with not just our allies and our friends but I will initiate tough diplomacy with our enemies. That includes Syria, Iran, North Korea, and Venezuela. I would meet with them and I would meet with them without preconditions although with preparation. I would present to them very clearly what my expectations would be in terms of them changing their behavior. (Town Hall Meeting, Watertown, South Dakota. May 16, 2008.)

- This is a step forward, and there will be many more steps to take in the days ahead. Critical questions remain unanswered. We still have not verified the accuracy of the North Korean declaration. We must confirm the full extent of North Korea's past plutonium production. We must also confirm its uranium enrichment activities, and get answers to disturbing questions about its proliferation activities with other countries, including Syria. The declaration has not yet been made available, so Congress has not had a chance to review it. Before weighing in on North Korea's removal from the list of state sponsors of terrorism, Congress must take the next 45 days to examine the adequacy of the North Korean declaration and verification procedures. Sanctions are a critical part of our leverage to pressure North Korea to act. They should only be lifted based on North Korean performance. If the North Koreans do not meet their obligations, we should move quickly to re-impose sanctions that have been waived, and consider new restrictions going forward. (Statement regarding North Korea's declaration of its nuclear weapons program, June 26, 2008)

- We should continue to pursue the kind of direct and aggressive diplomacy with North Korea that can yield results. The objective must be clear: the complete and verifiable elimination of North Korea's nuclear weapons programs, which only expanded while we refused to talk. As we move forward, we must not cede our leverage in these negotiations unless it is clear that North Korea is living up to its obligations. As President, I will work from the very beginning of my term in office to secure the American people and our interests in this vital region. We must work with diligence and determination with our friends and allies to end this dangerous threat, and to secure a lasting peace on the Korean peninsula. (Statement regarding North Korea's declaration of its nuclear weapons program, June 26, 2008)

- By keeping our commitment under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, we'll be in a better position to rally international support to bring pressure to bear on nations like North Korea and Iran that violate it. Both of these nations have a history of support for terror. Both should face strong and increasing sanctions if they refuse to verifiably abandon their illicit nuclear programs. And both demand sustained, aggressive, and direct diplomatic attention from the United States, and that's what I'll provide as President. (Barack Obama's speech at the University of Purdue, July 16, 2008)

- There's a reason why, for example, North Korea, when we weren't talking, developed eight nuclear weapons. And when we started talking, we've now arrived at possibility where we could get those nuclear weapons, and those systems dismantled. (CBS Evening News Interview with Katie Couric, July 22, 2008)

- In North Korea, we cut off talks. They're a member of the axis of evil. We can't deal with them. And you know what happened? They went -- they quadrupled their nuclear capacity. They tested a nuke. They tested missiles. They pulled out of the nonproliferation agreement. And they sent nuclear secrets, potentially, to countries like Syria. When we re-engaged -- because, again, the Bush administration reversed course on this -- then we have at least made some progress, although right now, because of the problems in North Korea, we are seeing it on shaky ground. (First Presidential Debate with McCain, September 26, 2008)

- North Korea's agreement to these verification measures is a modest step forward in dismantling its nuclear weapons programs. President Bush's decision to remove North Korea from the list of state sponsors of terrorism is an appropriate response, as long as there is a clear understanding that if North Korea fails to follow through there will be immediate consequences. It is now essential that North Korea halt all efforts to reassemble its nuclear facilities, place them back under IAEA supervision, and cooperate fully with the international community to complete the disablement of the Yongbyon facilities and to implement a robust verification mechanism to confirm the accuracy of its nuclear declaration ... The Six-party Talks offer North Korea a clear choice. If North Korea abandons its nuclear weapons programs, there will be meaningful incentives. If it refuses, it faces a future of political and economic isolation. (Statement of Senator Obama on the Agreement with North Korea, October 11, 2008)