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USIS Washington File

07 June 2000

Text: Einhorn's June 7 Speech on Nonproliferation to Asia Society

(Nonproliferation an Asian concern)  (3310)

Asian countries have just as big a stake as the United States in the
success of international nonproliferation efforts, says Robert J.
Einhorn, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Nonproliferation.

Speaking before the Asia Society in Hong Kong June 7, Einhorn noted
that nonproliferation issues affect both the region's military and
commercial security.

According to Einhorn, the most pressing security challenge facing the
world today is the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and
their missile delivery systems.

He added that one of "its most worrisome dimensions is the risk that
terrorists and other sub-national groups will get their hands on these
devastating weapons."

Following is the text:

(begin text)

NONPROLIFERATION CHALLENGES IN ASIA
Robert J. Einhorn, Assistant Secretary for Nonproliferation
U.S. Department of State
Asia Society, Hong Kong
June 7, 2000

In the latter half of the 20th century, it was the Cold War struggle
between rival blocs led by the United States and Soviet Union that
posed the most acute threat to international security. While this
essentially bipolar contest had its manifestations in various parts of
the world, it was a confrontation centered in Europe and it involved
primarily the nations of the Euro-Atlantic region.

As the new century begins, our security concerns have changed. We are
no longer preoccupied by the prospect of a global nuclear
conflagration or of a massive land battle in the heart of Europe.
Today, and for the foreseeable future, our most pressing security
challenge is the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and
their missile delivery systems. It is a challenge that is not confined
to any region of the world; nor is it confined to nation states. Among
its most worrisome dimensions is the risk that terrorists and other
sub-national groups will get their hands on these devastating weapons.

As Asia has assumed an increasingly prominent role in the world's
political, security, and commercial affairs, so too has it emerged as
a focus of proliferation concern. I would like to take this
opportunity to outline what the U.S. considers to be the most
important of the nonproliferation challenges facing us today in Asia
and discuss what my government and other interested governments are
doing to meet them.

North Korea

In Northeast Asia, the critical challenge is to eliminate the threat
posed by North Korea's nuclear and missile programs as we seek over
time to build normal and constructive relations with the long-isolated
regime in Pyongyang.

The decades-old military standoff on the Korean Peninsula took on a
much more menacing dimension in 1993 when the International Atomic
Energy Agency's discovery of North Korea's clandestine nuclear weapons
program precipitated a major international crisis that was only
alleviated in October 1994 with the conclusion of the U.S.-DPRK Agreed
Framework.

Then in August 1998 came another jolt. The North Koreans flight tested
the Taepo Dong I, a medium-range ballistic missile configured to boost
a small satellite into orbit. Even though the test failed to place its
payload into space, its overflight of Japan shocked the Japanese and
its demonstration of certain critical rocket technologies raised the
specter of North Korea soon having the capability to deliver
significant military payloads to the United States.

Compounding the missile proliferation threat was North Korea's
indiscriminate sales of missiles and missile technology to states in
regions of tension. It sold the No-Dong medium-range missile to
Pakistan (which renamed it the Ghauri and flight tested it in April
1996) and to Iran (which incorporated technology from other suppliers,
named it the Shahab-3, and flight tested it in July 1998). North Korea
has peddled its missile technology far and wide, to potential
customers of disparate political stripes located from northern Africa
to South Asia.

These unsettling developments prompted a fundamental review of U.S.
policy on North Korea. Led by former Secretary of Defense William
Perry and carried out in full coordination with the Republic of Korea
and Japan, the Perry review resulted in a new framework for U.S.
policy. The U.S. would be prepared to proceed step by step to a full
normalization of its relationship with the DPRK, but it would do so
only if the North Koreans were willing to deal constructively with its
concerns, mainly the elimination of their nuclear and missile
programs.

This engagement strategy has begun to pay off. We have had our ups and
downs, in large part because North Korean tactics often involve
provoking crises in an attempt to acquire additional negotiating
leverage and because the regime in Pyongyang is wary about the
domestic implications of engagement. But the overall trend is
positive.

- The Agreed Framework is working. Plutonium production remains frozen
under continuous IAEA monitoring. The sealing in canisters of spent
fuel rods from the Yongbyon reactor is complete. Work is underway on
the light water reactor project in the North. And the U.S. is meeting
its commitment to provide heavy fuel oil.

- Our concerns about a large underground facility at Kumchang-ni in
North Korea have been satisfactorily addressed. Troubled that the site
might be used for plutonium production, we negotiated access
arrangements, visited the site in May 1999, and found that it was not
suitable for the suspected proscribed activities. Last month, we
completed a second visit to Kumchang-ni, received full cooperation
from the North, and learned that the site remains an extensive, empty
tunnel complex.

- In September 1999, in response to strong urging by the international
community, especially the U.S. and Japan, the North Koreans stated
authoritatively that they would refrain from flight testing long-range
missiles of any kind as long as discussions were underway on improving
U.S.-DPRK relations.

- In Rome in late May, U.S. and DPRK teams launched a new negotiation
on further steps to implement the Agreed Framework and held a
preparatory session to set the stage for a new, formal round of
missile talks in the near future. The moratorium on flight testing
long-range missiles remains in place, and we expect soon to have an
announcement on the implementation of the President's decision last
September to ease certain economic sanctions against North Korea.

While bilateral U.S.-DPRK engagement remains on track and is producing
results, we believe that the engagement of other countries with
Pyongyang is also essential. That is why we are encouraged by the
current North Korean policy of expanding its international contacts.
In recent months, North Korea has resumed its normalization dialogue
with Japan, established or held discussions on establishing diplomatic
relations with Italy, Australia, Canada, and the Philippines,
consulted with the European Union, hosted Russian Foreign Minister
Ivanov, and explored membership in the ASEAN Regional Forum. Just over
a week ago, Kim Jong Il paid an unpublicized visit to Beijing and
showed that Sino-DPRK relations, heavily strained in recent years, are
apparently mended.

The expansion of Pyongyang's interactions with the outside world can
bring important benefits for the North Korean people, especially in
addressing their pressing humanitarian needs. At the same time, they
give interested countries the opportunity to convey their concerns
directly about North Korean activities, and they give Pyongyang a
strong and growing incentive to respond to those concerns and to avoid
actions that could put those beneficial relationships at risk.

By far the most dramatic development in North Korea's policy of
expanding contacts is the decision to host next week's North-South
summit. This historic event is largely the result of Kim Dae Jung's
courageous and far-sighted engagement policy aimed at bringing
reconciliation, peace, and economic well-being to the entire
Peninsula. The United States fully supports President Kim's efforts
and regards them as complementary with our own. We have always
believed that, ultimately, the problems of peace and security on the
Peninsula must and should be resolved by Koreans. Moreover, we are
confident that an improvement in North-South relations will advance
the goal shared throughout Asia of eliminating the threat posed by
North Korea's nuclear and missile programs.

China

A second nonproliferation challenge is encouraging China to become a
more consistently reliable partner in the global fight against
proliferation.

China has come a long way in its attitudes toward nonproliferation. In
the 1960s, its declared policy was to support the spread of nuclear
weapons as a means of "breaking the hegemony of the superpowers."
Since then -- as it has come to recognize its own security interest in
impeding the proliferation of dangerous military capabilities and as
it has assumed greater international responsibilities as a Permanent
Member of the U.N. Security Council -- its position has evolved in a
positive direction.

The most marked change came in the 1990s. China acceded to the
Nonproliferation Treaty in 1992, pledged not to export complete
ground-to-ground missiles in 1994, signed the Comprehensive Test Ban
Treaty in 1996, and became an original party to the Chemical Weapons
Convention in 1997.

In 1996 and 1997, in the wake of public controversy over the sale of
ring magnets by a Chinese company to Pakistan's uranium enrichment
program, China pledged not to assist unsafeguarded nuclear programs in
Pakistan or anywhere else, agreed to phase out all nuclear cooperation
with Iran, developed and implemented a national system of export
controls, and joined the Zangger Nuclear Suppliers Committee.

In the area of regional nonproliferation, China played a leading role
in encouraging a strong international reaction to the Indian and
Pakistani nuclear tests of May 1998. We believe it has also worked
behind the scenes with North Korea to encourage restraint in both the
nuclear and missile fields.

However, despite these encouraging developments, China's evolution is
still incomplete and its record on nonproliferation is mixed.

- The Chinese leadership has demonstrated that it takes very seriously
its recent commitments to restrain nuclear-related exports. Beijing
has also abided by its 1994 pledge not to export complete missiles.
But Chinese entities continue to provide equipment, technology, and
materials to missile programs of concern in Iran, Pakistan, and
elsewhere.

- Chinese authorities have made substantial headway on their export
control system. But in important respects, that system does not yet
meet international standards; the controls should be more
comprehensive and their enforcement should be more rigorous. The
further strengthening of that control system would be facilitated by a
closer association between China and the various multilateral export
control regimes.

- We have valued China's role on North Korea and South Asia. But
proliferation is a global problem, and China -- as a Permanent Member
of the U.N. Security Council and a leading party to the NPT -- should
be a more active partner in dealing with those and other proliferation
trouble spots around the world, including Iraq.

China has often seen cooperation with the U.S. on nonproliferation
largely through the prism of bilateral U.S.-Chinese relations. Thus,
when relations were improving -- as they clearly were in the period
preceding the Clinton-Jiang summits in Washington and Beijing --
progress on the nonproliferation agenda was significant. But when
bilateral relations were more difficult and China wanted to show
displeasure toward the United States or its particular actions, China
tended to reduce or even shut off cooperation in the area of
nonproliferation. After the accidental bombing of the Chinese embassy
in Belgrade, for example, a regular bilateral dialogue on
nonproliferation that had proved quite productive was suspended for
over 16 months.

China should not view positive steps on nonproliferation as a favor or
concession to the United States or anyone else. Preventing the
proliferation of destabilizing military capabilities, whether in
China's neighborhood or farther away, is in China's national interest
no less than in America's. It is inevitable that differences will
arise from time to time between the U.S. and China. But if China is to
become a fully committed and reliable partner in the global effort to
prevent proliferation, these differences should not be allowed to
stand in the way of working together to avert what is truly a common
danger.

South Asia

In South Asia, the key nonproliferation challenge is to encourage
India and Pakistan to heed the advice of the international community
by exercising maximum restraint in their nuclear and missile programs,
joining the international nonproliferation mainstream, and resolving
their differences peacefully.

Before the nuclear tests of May 1998, the nuclear weapons programs of
India and Pakistan were hardly a secret. What the tests did was to
turn an unacknowledged arms creep into an overt and robust arms race.
Since then, the South Asian rivals have each pursued several ballistic
missiles programs, with tit-for-tat flight testing of medium-range
versions. Each has observed a voluntary moratorium on further nuclear
tests, which is significant in light of domestic pressures for resumed
testing, especially in India; but neither has so far made good on its
1999 promise to sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. And both are
actively producing more fissile material for nuclear weapons, arguing
that they cannot afford to join a Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty until
their stocks of such materials are larger.

Despite repeated statements by Indian and Pakistani leaders that they
wish to avoid an arms race and are determined to meet their security
needs at the lowest possible levels, the nuclear and missile programs
of the two sides show no signs of letting up.

Strategic thinkers in India and Pakistan used to predict confidently
that nuclear weapons would bring deterrence and stability to the
Subcontinent and even promote better bilateral relations. The opposite
appears to be the case, as last summer's conflict around Kargil
demonstrated. The situation in Kashmir remains tense, and the risks of
miscalculation and escalation have risen. With mutual mistrust and
recriminations perhaps at their highest levels since independence,
dialogue between the two sides has not resumed.

In March, President Clinton visited India and laid the foundation for
a qualitatively different and more promising relationship between the
U.S. and the world's largest democracy. While painting the picture of
a much more cooperative future, the President also spoke frankly and
respectfully to the Indian people about the importance the U.S
attaches to India's adherence to international nonproliferation goals.
He acknowledged that it was India's sovereign right to decide what was
necessary for defense. But he pointed out that, unless Indians decided
to exercise restraint -- consistent with the Indian Government's own
stated policies -- the full potential of U.S.-Indian relations could
not be realized.

During the President's brief stop in Islamabad, the agenda was a more
difficult one, addressing such issues as restoration of democracy and
support for the militants in Kashmir. But on the question of
nonproliferation, the message was essentially the same.

India and Pakistan are not rogue states; they are our friends. We want
to improve relations with both of them. Moreover, we recognize that
their strategic choices will be based not on outside pressures but on
their own independent judgments of what best serves their national
interests. We ask them to appreciate, however, that those strategic
choices have major consequences -- not just for themselves, but also
for the security of their neighbors and for the viability of
international nonproliferation regimes. So even as the U.S.
strengthens and expands relations with them, we will keep our
nonproliferation goals high on the agenda.

Export Controls

The final challenge I will address applies not to a single country or
region but to all countries of Asia; it is the challenge of developing
and strengthening export controls, which are one of the most critical
tools for impeding proliferation.

Asia is now a leader in the high-technology field. Many of the
sensitive technologies used in weapons of mass destruction and missile
delivery systems are produced or traded here. Asia's manufacturing
centers and trading hubs therefore provide tempting targets for
countries seeking unconventional military capabilities.

North Korea and other proliferators have developed elaborate means of
acquiring the goods and technologies they seek. They establish front
companies to augment existing procurement networks and use brokers and
other cutouts to disguise their transactions. They will look for weak
links in the chain of control, such as relatively uncontrolled transit
points.

If Asia is to avoid becoming a supermarket for countries of
proliferation concern, the governments of the region must put in place
rigorous export control systems that meet international standards. If
they are interested in a good example to follow in the area of export
controls, they need look no farther than Hong Kong.

It is essential that Hong Kong, as a leader in world trade and a major
transshipment point, have first-rate controls. All indications are
that it has. In her recent report to Congress, Secretary of State
Albright noted that "Hong Kong has maintained what is widely
considered one of the world's finest export control regimes."

In light of concerns often expressed by authorities in other major
shipping hubs, it is important to point out that Hong Kong's
conscientious approach to controlling strategic trade does not come at
the expense of Hong Kong's commercial interests. Indeed, Hong Kong is
proof that economic and nonproliferation interests are fully
compatible. Hong Kong also appreciates that the best guarantee that it
will continue to gain access to high technology, particularly from the
United States, is its ability to ensure that goods headed to Hong Kong
will be used only for their intended use by the intended end-user.

Hong Kong is not alone among Asian nations in pursuing effective
national export controls. Others in the region, notably Japan and
Australia, have also created effective systems. But given the growing
tendency of proliferators to look to Asia as a source of supply for
their programs, it is important that all Asian governments give
increased priority to this aspect of the fight against proliferation.

Beyond the general task of establishing legally-based, transparent
systems to control strategic trade, governments should ensure that
their systems are capable of controlling "in-transit" goods,
regulating brokering activities, and conducting pre-license checks and
post-shipment verification to make sure that goods arrive and remain
where they are intended. An effective system should also have
so-called "catch-all" authority to provide the legal basis to stop
items not contained on any control list if they are headed to
especially risky destinations, and it should have rigorous enforcement
mechanisms with tough penalties for violators. And because we have
entered a stage where the most serious acts of proliferation may
involve transfers of know-how rather than hardware, it is crucial that
authorities have the ability to control technology, including
"intangible technology" that can be passed via the fax machine or
internet.

The United States has worked with several Asian countries to help them
develop and strengthen their export control systems, and we are
prepared to do more in that regard. Others with well-developed control
systems, including some in the Asian region, are also ready to provide
assistance. The multilateral export control regimes are another
possible source of support and advice. Participating in some of those
regimes' programs and adopting their control lists and guidelines
would be major steps by Asian nations toward effective control of
sensitive trade.

Conclusion

No security issue receives higher priority in Washington than
preventing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their
missile delivery systems. The nonproliferation challenges of Asia will
therefore remain high on the U.S. agenda in the months and years
ahead.

But nonproliferation is not just a U.S. concern. In terms of security
as well as commercial interests, the countries of Asia have just as
great a stake in the success of international nonproliferation efforts
as does the U.S. We therefore will look to the countries of Asia to
join us, as energetic and committed partners, in countering the most
dangerous threat the world will face in the 21st century. And we fully
count on Hong Kong to continue showing us the way.

(end text)

(Distributed by the Office of International Information Programs, U.S.
Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)