- The Washington Times - Saturday, December 28, 2002

Bush administration officials have decided to go to the United Nations to seek punishment against North Korea for violating treaties by moving to restart the production of nuclear weapons.
U.S. officials say the administration will urge the International Atomic Energy Agency to go before the U.N. Security Council next month to report the violations.
The IAEA's board of governors is scheduled to meet in Vienna, Austria, on Jan. 6 to discuss a response to North Korea's recent resumption of its nuclear program. The United States will ask the body to condemn North Korea's violations and demand that some type of economic sanctions be imposed upon Pyongyang, U.S. officials said.
Senior policy-makers conducted what is termed a "principals meeting" yesterday at the White House, in which Pentagon, State Department and National Security Council representatives discussed how to respond to the crisis in North Korea. A senior U.S. official confirmed the meeting and the topic but declined to provide specific details.
However, other sources said President Bush will put the military option aside and try to resolve the crisis diplomatically through the United Nations and other channels.
North Korea this week removed IAEA monitoring equipment at its Yongbyon nuclear facility, where sufficient spent nuclear fuel exists to quickly produce up to five plutonium weapons. Yesterday, the communist regime ordered out the last remaining IAEA inspectors monitoring the program.
The regime has admitted to breaking a 1994 agreement with the United States, in which Pyongyang agreed to freeze its nuclear-weapons program. North Korea recently announced that it is pursuing a program to produce weapons made of enriched uranium.
The Bush administration has stayed silent on exactly how it plans to confront North Korea. Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld has told Pyongyang that the United States has sufficient military forces to fight two wars simultaneously, against both North Korea and Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.
When Mr. Bush turns to the United Nations, it will mark the second time he has asked the Security Council to get tough with an "axis of evil" state. In September, Mr. Bush went before the U.N. General Assembly to demand that it force Iraq to comply with the body's own cease-fire resolutions on disarmament. The Security Council eventually approved a resolution authorizing the ongoing weapons inspections in Iraq.
Mr. Bush has labeled Iraq, North Korea and Iran as forming an "axis of evil."
Henry Sokolski, executive director of the Non-Proliferation Education Center in Washington, said the United States must stick by its no-bargaining policy with Pyongyang.
"The whole world is watching," said Mr. Sokolski, whose group for years has been in the forefront of warning about North Korea's nuclear intentions. "If we blink with regard to North Korea's nuclear violations, it will be a green light for proliferators around the world."
He said the Security Council "can at least clarify what is intolerable behavior."
"Even if it imposes weak sanctions, it will accomplish this much. This process also has the advantage of forcing [council members] China and Russia on the record. They can't be great nations and walk away from the demand they at least support some punishment for North Korea's violations," he said.
On Monday, State Department spokesman Philip Reeker was asked by reporters whether the United States would seek U.N. action against North Korea.
"That remains to be seen as we watch this over coming days and continue to be in touch with friends and allies," Mr. Reeker said. "That includes Security Council members. Obviously, this is an issue that will be of interest to the United Nations, because North Korea is in violation of many of its international commitments."
He said the North is in violation of four treaties and agreements: the International Atomic Energy Agency Safeguards Agreement; the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty; the North-South Agreement on Denuclearization; and the 1994 Agreed Framework hammered out by the Clinton administration.
The White House position, repeated yesterday, is that it will not negotiate with North Korea while it stands in flagrant violation of the 1994 Framework Agreement.
Mr. Reeker said on Monday, "We will not give in to blackmail. The international community will not enter into dialogue in response to threats or broken commitments, and we're not going to bargain or offer inducements for North Korea to live up to the treaties and agreements that it has signed."
Analysts say the reclusive communist regime, whose motives are often difficult to read, probably decided to engage in diplomatic brinkmanship to elicit more offers of economic aid from Japan, South Korea and the United States.
The North's communist-run economy is in shambles. It diverts large resources to maintain a massive military of 1.7 million soldiers, more than half of whom are poised near the border of South Korea.
Under the Agreed Framework, the North was supposed to give up nuclear weapons in exchange for shipments of fuel oil and construction of two light-water nuclear-power plants.

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