August 01, 2011

Patrick Cronin Comments On Talks With North Korea

Anchor: Let's get started with the talk this week in New York.  What are the main hurdles to overcome?  Dr. Cronin, you first.

Dr. Patrick Cronin: The main hurdle is to rebuild trust that North Korea is serious about denuclearization, or at least beginning on a serious path toward denuclearization.  The second hurdle is to make sure that North Korea is going to desist from provocations that destabilize the region and threaten our South Korean friends and allies.

Anchor:  On that note, Dr. Cronin, what are the main steps perhaps that DPRK needs to take to build that trust again this week?

Dr. Patrick Cronin:  After the two days of talks are finished in New York, for North Korea to take concrete actions like inviting inspectors in to visit the new Uranium enrichment facility that was shown last fall.  And we also need to make sure that North Korea doesn't continue any other provocations, and that they would be willing to continue the dialog with South Korea, which if not an apology would at least indicate the seriousness with which the South Koreans have to take, the killings, the deaths from last year's provocation.

Anchor:  Dr. Lee to you, Dr. Cronin just said that building the trust is the key to the further talks between DPRK and the rest of the world.  What are the Chinese perspectives on this?  Are you optimistic about the resumption of six party talks within this year?

Dr. Lee:  Well I definitely feel that trust is very important, but I think right now in order to have the six party talks resumed, all the parties may need to think seriously what are the minimum sort of common ground, common interests and common objectives that they may have.  For instance, it is important to keep in mind nuclear disarmament is a very important objective, but at the same time, non-proliferation is probably something that many parties would be interested in as well.

Anchor: Going back to the non-proliferation, Dr. Cronin, do you agree that that should be the key?  Sort of a precondition or the key topic of the six party talks and perhaps the further talk after this week.  Not the non-proliferation but the non-nuclearization, I'm sorry, but the non-proliferation?

Dr. Patrick Cronin:  Well the United States is indeed very worried about weapons that could proliferate off of the Korean peninsula, so that is, continues to be a major U.S. priority and is in many ways an interim objective of the United States, that is, the United States knows that de-nuclearization is at best a long term proposition.  So we share that Chinese view in general, for instance that that's not going to happen quickly.  But unfortunately you have to have concrete steps along the way, and not only must you stop proliferating from the peninsula, but you must actually build reassurance that the nuclear programs in North Korea are under control, under international monitoring, and so on.

Anchor:  If I may jump in Dr. Cronin, so if you perhaps see, perhaps North Korea inviting back IAEA inspectors back, and perhaps if they restrain from further provocation, and perhaps expression of apology or some sort of remorse, do you think that should be enough to continue the talks and perhaps resume the six party talks within this year?  Is that a condition that the U.S. and ROK will be satisfied with?

Dr. Patrick Cronin:  I think so, I think, I've said this for several months I think that we can get back to the six party talks, whether those can be useful, well time will tell.

Anchor:  Ok, Dr. Lee do you have anything to add to that?

Dr. Lee: You need to separate denuclearization and non-proliferation.  But still I think non-proliferation could be a first step to start with.  We could find some in a give and take, sort of a agreement between North Korea and the other parties to achieve some sense of effective non-proliferation.

Anchor:  Ok, on that note we have to let you go for today.  Thank you always for being with us, it's always a pleasure.