“J. Kelly Failed to Produce ‘Evidence’ in Pyongyang”; Framed up “Admission” Story 


DPRK FM Director O Song Chol

PYONGYANG, January 19, Kim Ji Yong (PK Staff Reporter)--Unsurprisingly, the DPRK announced on January 10 its decision to withdraw from the “Treaty on Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT)” to counter the U.S. hard-line policy toward Pyongyang. During the first official DPRK-U.S. talks after the Bush administration started, which was held in Pyongyang in early October last year, Bush’s special envoy James Kelly failed to show any hard “evidence” that Pyongyang was developing a uranium enrichment program to produce nukes, said O Song Chol, bureau director of the DPRK Foreign Ministry, in an interview on January 18. Dismissing Washington’s argument that Pyongyang “admitted” a clandestine plan as a sheer lie, which was intended to mislead the world public to isolate the “defiant country,” O disclosed what happened in the Pyongyang talks and made clear Pyongyang’s principled stand on the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula as follows:


Nothing to “verify” for U.S.


Q: In a new move, the United States seems to have begun to show its “intention to resume dialogue” with the DPRK this year. What made you decide to withdraw from the NPT on January 10?


O Song Chol: What served directly as the catalyst of our decision like that was the unjust January 6 resolution adopted by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Board of Governors, whose substance is that we should “give up any nuclear weapons program expeditiously and in a verifiable manner.” The director general of the IAEA went so far as to send us an “ultimatum” in which he said the board of governors would report the issue to the United Nations Security Council unless we report back to him or respond in a matter of days, or weeks at the most.  

It is the U.S. that manipulates such an international campaign to bring pressure on our country. It is no other than the U.S. that is to blame for the nuclear crisis on the Korean Peninsula. The “resolution” shows that the IAEA has become a U.S. agent carrying out its policy to stifle the DPRK.

Why should we get sanctions imposed on us? We have never admitted a “nuclear weapons development” itself. Then, what on earth is the U.S. asking us to verify and abandon?

Representatives of the U.S., Japan and South Korea met early this month in Washington to discuss a negotiated and peaceful solution to the current nuclear issue. The U.S., too, reportedly acceded basically to such an approach. The problem, however, is that it was conditional, that is to say, “Pyongyang should scrap its nuclear program first.”

Media in the U.S. and Europe have reported as if the U.S. wishes dialogue and negotiation with the DPRK but the latter has not responded to it. This derives from their lack of understanding of the truth. Our stand is to address the issue through dialogue. It is the U.S. that is responsible for failing to open dialogue with us.


U.S. gets floored


Q: You say the current grave situation was originally caused by a U.S. argument that North Korea “admitted a nuclear weapons development plan.” Please tell me what is the truth.


A: In early October last, Assistant Secretary of State James Kelly came to Pyongyang as a special envoy of the U.S. president.

We accepted him, to put it plainly, just to listen to the envoy. In fact, we had not felt a need for us to have face-to-face talks with the U.S. at that time because we had had nothing in particular to discuss with it. At that point, the only thing we wanted to say to the U.S. was that it must implement the Agreed Framework in a sincere manner. However, upon hearing a U.S. suggestion to dispatch a presidential envoy to Pyongyang, we decided to take this opportunity to listen to him what he would say, and to find a possibility to discuss issues on a higher level if and when the substance of his story accords with our demand.

But the special envoy began an extravagant story from the beginning of the talks. He asserted in an arrogant manner that U.S. spy satellite observations indicated Pyongyang was suspected of resuming “nuclear weapons development” using enriched uranium under the ground, and demanded that we promptly stop it since it was a breach of the Agreed Framework between the two countries.

With no such false information could he upset us, as a matter of course. The U.S. has adhered to the policy of isolating and stifling our country by making up various excuses. However, it has never been able to make public any relevant precise data. We asked the U.S. envoy to produce evidence to us if any. But he not only failed to show satellite photos but also could not specify even the site where, he claimed, we were “developing nuclear weapons.”

So we told the U.S. envoy as follows: You say about the so-called “nuclear development” in our country. But it is the DPRK that has always been actually threatened by U.S. nuclear weapons. If you continue to assume a high-handed attitude toward us in the days to come, we are entitled to possess not only nukes, although we are not in possession of such a weapon at this point, but also any type of weapon more powerful than that in order to defend ourselves. This is a natural demand for an independent sovereign state. We have no reason to talk with you any longer if you make such a brigandish demand of us.

We resolutely rejected his assertion like this. This is the truth about James Kelly’s Pyongyang visit.


Q: Then, did Kelly understand Pyongyang’s claim of the right to possess nukes to mean that it “admitted its nuclear development”?


A: There was no mistaking what we meant that way. I must make it clear here that we flatly denied at the early stage of the talks the U.S. accusations of our “plan to produce nuclear weapons using enriched uranium.”

We understand that Washington decided to dispatch the president’s special envoy to Pyongyang in an attempt to make a false charge against us for an “act of breaching the Agreed Framework” as the pendulum of public opinion was swinging in the direction that the U.S. should take responsibility for its delayed construction of light water reactors for the DPRK and its non-compliance with the Agreed Framework. Perhaps the U.S. presumed that we would bow to its presidential envoy’s pressure and give up our nuclear program and comply with the Agreed Framework. And, possibly, they were supposed to force “inspections” on us as they are doing on Iraq, should we admit a “nuclear weapons program.”

I think that the U.S. suffered a big blow because Kelly was turned away at the door from Pyongyang. On his way home from Pyongyang Kelly stopped over in Seoul and Tokyo to meet their government authorities. He told reporters that he discussed the nuclear issue with Pyongyang. But his story was insipid as yesterday’s champagne. It is no wonder that Kelly explained about the Pyongyang talks that way because he was in a muddle after a shock from seeing the only superpower’s plan end up in failure in Pyongyang.


Legal commitment to non-aggression needed


Q: But in about ten days, Washington made the surprise announcement that North Korea “admitted” its “clandestine nuclear program.”


A: Listening to Kelly in Washington, the Bush administration interpreted to suit its own purpose our statements as regards counter-measures we said we would take. Washington’s announcement as such was intended to mislead public opinion by fabricating a fiction. The U.S. did that not by mistake but by design to spread misconceptions throughout the world that the DPRK-U.S. agreement failed because North Korea broke its promise by engaging in a “nuclear weapons plan.”

Thus, we felt the necessity to offer a new formula given the situation in which the nuclear issue in the Korean Peninsula arose again--a non-aggression treaty between Pyongyang and Washington.


Q: Why non-aggression treaty?


A: Of course, the 1994 Agreed Framework is a legally binding agreement. Its implementation may be guaranteed by simultaneous actions by the two sides. However, under the present circumstances, it’s difficult for both sides to eliminate hostile relations if they stick to the Agreed Framework only.

Pyongyang and Washington are badly at odds over basic stands. Washington asserts that we are giving it nuclear and missile threats. But we hold that the U.S. has threatened us all the time with its various types of forces deployed in and around the Korean Peninsula. In other words, each side claims it feels threats of aggression from the other. The problem is how to remove such mutual concerns. This is not a so complicated matter to solve but can be addressed if only both sides legally assure each other of the renunciation of any intention to invade the other side by signing a relevant treaty.

Concluding a non-aggression pact with Washington is our plan to settle in package the existing contradictions and differences that have come to the fore between the two nations in the wake of James Kelly’s visit to Pyongyang.

We have long urged Washington to conclude a peace treaty which is intended to put an end to the state of ceasefire that has continued ever since the 1950-53 Korean War and thus turn it into a peace system. Whereas, the current proposal on our part on a non-aggression treaty is aimed to address the nuclear issue as a whole--specifically, to eliminate possibilities of nuclear threats between the DPRK and the U.S.

We understand that the 1994 Geneva Agreement has turned out a dead letter for now. There is nothing we can expect from it. Of course, this doesn’t mean that the agreement itself has been abolished. So, if only the U.S. discontinues its hostility towards our country and improve its attitude even now, the agreement could be put into practice. But the Geneva accord alone cannot give a fundamental solution to the present nuclear issue.


“Arbitration” may be considered if positive


Q: The U.S. hints its readiness to document its intention not to invade the DPRK and assure its security.


A: Given the essence of the present situation, a letter of the president or something like that would not guarantee a final solution to the nuclear issue. The U.S. is aware of this. What we can say for sure is that U.S. adherence to pressuring will have no effect at all.

At present, we see that the Bush administration is puzzled over a paradoxical either-or situation. Now that we have taken a high-handed measure, they may think, according to their own logic, they should contain North Korea using military force as in the case of Iraq. On the other hand, it is apparent that if they attack North Korea they are sure to suffer irretrievably horrible losses. But if the U.S. promises non-aggression to North Korea, then it will lose face as the only superpower.

Superficially, the Bush administration talks about opening dialogue. But actually, it has yet to make up its mind what subjects it should discuss with us. It may be correct to say that the U.S. has not have drawn a clear design for dealing with North Korea. Therefore, Washington is just playing for time by deferring dialogue.

It is the U.S., not us, that has been driven to a tight corner after it raised the story about our “admission of a nuke plan.” You see the U.S. envoy came to Pyongyang only to have a hard time of it. The U.S. had expected that we would bow to its pressure. The positions of us and the U.S. were completely reversed, however, because we countered it with a higher-handed measure. We have had the initiative in the nuclear standoff ever since and are making progress toward victory.

It is against this background that Washington came up with an idea about an exchange of letters or official statements with us as regards non-aggression to find a way for compromise.


Q: What if surrounding nations should suggest “arbitrations” to settle the nuclear issue between the two countries?


A: From Russia President Putin’s envoy came to Pyongyang, and China has made clear its intention to provide a venue for DPRK-U.S. bilateral talks in Beijing should such talks take place.

We hear that South Korea’s President-elect Roh Moo Hyon, too, has made clear his position to play a role in solving the nuclear issue in a peaceful way.

We think it would be wonderful if surrounding nations could play their positive roles in settling correctly the current nuclear issue, based on their clear understanding of the nature of the present state of affairs. If they fail to understand the situation correctly and try to impose one-sided demands on us by taking the U.S. side, it would only help aggravate the situation.

If and when our dialogue is held on an equal footing, there will be no reason for us to refuse it. We will not stick to the form of dialogue. In the past, there have been held vice-ministerial level talks between the two countries, and even a U.S. Secretary of State has ever been to our country.


Firm will


Q: Do you think the DPRK will remain high-handed in the future?


A: It is thanks to the power of army-first policy exercised by Chairman Kim Jong Il of the National Defense Commission that we could make a bold decision to leave the NPT. Without powerful national defense capabilities with us, we would not be able to vie fairly and squarely with the U.S., the superpower.

Chairman Kim Jong Il has elucidated strategic policies in a decade-long nuclear standoff with Washington since the “nuclear suspicion” was raised by the U.S., and has strived to implement them to put the U.S. at bay all the time since then.

It was in accordance with Chairman Kim Jong Il’s decision that we met and had talks with James Kelly in Pyongyang and that we withdrew the NPT.

Ours is not a big country in terms of population and territory. But, if the U.S. boasts of being a big country, we will have to think and act as such accordingly . This position of our leader’s is firm will and fixed.



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