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Statement by Robert J. Einhorn Assistant Secretary for Nonproliferation "Nonproliferation Challenges in Asia" The 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.-D.P.R.K. 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 D.P.R.K., 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.-D.P.R.K. relations. In Rome in late May, U.S. and D.P.R.K. 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.-D.P.R.K. 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-D.P.R.K. 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 UN 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 UN 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 Argil 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.