View Full Version : U.S. Vows Full Range Of Armed Response In Regards To North Korea

10-19-2006, 09:13 AM
US vows full range of armed response


Rowan Callick, China correspondent
October 19, 2006

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has called for the swift implementation of UN sanctions on North Korea while issuing a stark warning to Pyongyang that Washington will respond with the "full range" of its military might to any attack on its allies.

In a move designed to reassure Japan and South Korea after the regime of Kim Jong-il vowed to inflict "merciless blows without hesitation" on any countries enforcing sanctions, Dr Rice said the US would use all its military options if North Korea dared to hit out at its neighbours.

"The role of the US is to make certain that everybody, including the North Koreans, knows very well that the US will fully recognise and act upon its obligations under its mutual defence treaty" with Japan, Dr Rice said in Tokyo during the first stop of a four-nation regional tour.

"The US has the will and the capability to meet the full range, and I underscore the full range, of its deterrence and security commitment to Japan."

Tokyo has been especially worried about North Korea, which fired a missile over Japan's main island in 1998 and in July test-launched seven missiles in its direction.

Following talks with Dr Rice, Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Aso, for his part, insisted his Government would not develop nuclear weapons in response to the threat from North Korea.

But Japan appeared to be backing away from Washington's hard line. "The objective is not sanctions in themselves, it's an end to its nuclear program," Mr Aso said. "So we should keep open the window of dialogue and call for the unconditional resumption of six-party talks."

North Korea walked out of six-nation talks on its nuclear program almost a year ago in protest at US sanctions on a bank accused of laundering and counterfeiting money for the regime.

Despite Mr Aso's comments, Dr Rice emerged from talks to say "the Foreign Minister and I pledged we will work together and with other states for the swift implementation and the effective implementation of all of the measures" agreed by the UN Security Council last week after Pyongyang carried out its first nuclear text explosion.

In addition to reaffirming security commitments, US officials said Dr Rice's tour was aimed at shoring up regional support for the wide-ranging sanctions.

The UN resolution calls on Pyongyang to give up all weapons of mass destruction, bans nations from sending heavy weapons or luxury goods to the North and calls for a freeze on all the North's weapons-related funds. The most controversial measure calls for the inspection of all cargo to and from the impoverished state, aimed at preventing its cash-strapped Government from selling material for an atomic bomb or other illicit weapons to terrorists or rogue states.

But American hopes of forcing a quick North Korean backdown appear to be fading, with South Korea indicating yesterday that it, like China, is unwilling to enforce an economic blockade.

Dr Rice flies tomorrow to Beijing, where the Chinese Government has reiterated its insistence that the crisis be solved by negotiation and diplomacy.

Washington is concerned that failure to press home the UN resolution might also encourage Iran to proceed with its nuclear plans.

Reports emerged yesterday suggesting that Pyongyang had warned Beijing of its plans to conduct a series of underground nuclear tests of which the October 9 blast was only the first. China refused to comment.

North Korean leader Mr Kim yesterday made his first public appearance since last week's test, joining the audience at a song and dance performance.