WASHINGTON (AFP) – The United States warned North Korea (news – web sites) that it would face action from the international community if it does not stop exporting dangerous weapons and other illegal activities.
“If North Korea will not act, it will find the United States, its allies and other partners equally prepared to respond with measures that ensure North Korea cannot threaten our countries or international stability,” said Mitchell Reiss, the department’s director of policy planning.
Speaking at the Heritage Foundation, one of Washington’s leading repositories of expertise on East Asia, Reiss said the United States was taking steps to enforce its laws against alleged narcotics trafficking and counterfeiting of US currency by the rogue state.
He said these steps were ongoing and unrelated to the current six-party negotiations — which include North and South Korea (news – web sites), Japan, the United States, China and Russia — to ease the nuclear standoff in North Korea.
“We are entitled to expect legal behaviour from all countries.
“With or without a denuclearization agreement, North Korea must cease its exports of dangerous weapons and the wide scope of its illegal activities,” Reiss said.
Washington would also pursue with its so called proliferation security initiative, a programme to counter the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and missiles, he said.
“We will insist on full accountability by the North Korean regime and its agents for their behaviour,” Reiss said. “The choice, ultimately, is theirs.”
If North Korea rises to the occasion and abandons its “self destructive and dangerous path, it can begin to work with the United States and the other nations in the nuclear talks to enable its diplomatic and economic integration into the global system.
The six party talks are due to resume in Beijing by the end of June after the last round in the Chinese capital in February fizzled out with only an agreement to establish working groups to study the problem.
The talks failed to resolve differences over the core US demand for the complete dismantling of the secretive Stalinist country’s nuclear programmes.
North Korea called the US demand “criminal” and said progress was impossible because of “the fundamental difference between the DPRK and the US in their stands.”
North Korea and the United States have been locked in the impasse since Washington accused the Stalinist state in October 2002 of having a program to enrich uranium in defiance of a 1994 anti-nuclear pact.
The United States considers the 1994 deal ruptured and suspended fuel oil shipments to North Korea.
North Korea has denied having an enriched uranium program but admits it has plutonium bombs.
Pyongyang has sought security guarantees and economic aid in return for denuclearization while Washington has insisted that a verifiable dismantling of the Stalinist state’s nuclear program come first.