'All options' for North Korea available to U.S., official says
SEOUL — The United States has not ruled out a military strike while it seeks to have North Korea’s nuclear weapons program addressed by the U.N. Security Council later this week, a U.S. official said Wednesday.
“For us, all options are on the table,” said John Bolton, undersecretary of state for arms control and international security.
Bolton’s speech came as the United States is prodding the U.N. Security Council to weigh in on North Korea’s illegal nuclear weapons program later this week.
Washington has not ruled out a military strike, Bolton said. But, he added, “We have no intentions of invading North Korea. It’s as simple as that.”
Bolton, on a three-day Pacific swing, met with South Korean defense and Foreign Ministry officials and president-elect Roh Moo-hyun’s transition team Wednesday. He began the trip in Beijing and reached Tokyo on Thursday.
The United States wants the Security Council to address North Korea’s nuclear program, Bolton said, noting that the council could take broad political and economic actions.
Chinese officials support the move, said Bolton, who added that England, France and Russia share that view. The United States is pursuing a multilateral approach to stop criticism that the Bush administration is alone in its stance, he said.
“We see a consensus forming,” Bolton added.
He reinforced the Bush administration’s policy that North Korea must halt its nuclear weapons development without U.S. concessions. The United States is not buying off North Korea or submitting to blackmail, he said.
“This time, North Korea has to begin with actions … and that means dismantling its nuclear weapons program,” Bolton said.
U.S. aid is possible only if North Korea employs “fundamental change” to its chemical, biological and nuclear weapons programs and conventional forces and betters its human-rights record, Bolton said.
North Korea stirred tension when admitting to a U.S. diplomat in October that it secretly worked on nuclear weapons. Bolton said Congress won’t support an arrangement that gives North Korea nuclear reactors or material that could be used to fuel nuclear reactions.