Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

USIS Washington File

16 March 2000

Text: International Relations Chair Gilman March 16 on N. Korea

(Gilman cites day-to-day horrors of North Korean Gulag) (1330)
North Korea is a threat to U.S. interests despite a six-year effort to
engage that regime and $1,000 million in aid, says Representative Ben
Gilman, chairman of the House International Relations Committee.
The communist regime in Pyongyang, Gilman said in opening remarks at a
March 16 hearing on North Korea, continues "to develop the Taepo Dong
II intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), despite a test
moratorium, and could launch the missile this year should it decide to
do so."
A three-stage Taepo Dong II, he told fellow International Relations
Committee members, "would be capable of delivering a several-hundred
kilogram payload anywhere in the United States."
The New York Republican listed provocative actions tied to the
communist regime, noting that recent drugs seizures in Japan were
alleged to have come from North Korea, and that Pyongyang harbors
members of the Red Army, a Japanese terrorist group.
The communist regime, he added, sells ballistic missiles and missile
technology that endanger American allies and U.S. troops.
The international community, Gilman lamented, "has not spoken out
forcefully enough about the day to day horrors of the North Korean
gulag."
Pyongyang, he charged, is allowing its own people to die of starvation
as it diverts food aid to the military and government officials. "This
means more people will needlessly starve as Pyongyang chooses ideology
over reform," Gilman said.
Citing the report of the North Korea Advisory Group, Gilman warned,
"the threat to U.S. and global interests from North Korea continues to
grow despite almost six years of engagement and close to $1 billion in
aid."
The challenges North Korea presents the United States are
"significant," Gilman said, and "managing the threat is a tremendous
policy undertaking."
Following is the text:
(begin text)
HOUSE INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS COMMITTEE
PRESS RELEASE
March 16, 2000
GILMAN CITES NORTH KOREA'S CONTINUED PURSUIT
OF MISSILE AND NUCLEAR WEAPONS PROGRAMS
WASHINGTON (March 16) - U.S. Rep. Benjamin A. Gilman (20th-NY),
Chairman of the House International Relations Committee, gave the
following statement today at a Full Committee hearing on North Korea:
Today, our House Committee on International Relations meets once again
to review U.S. policy toward North Korea.
This is the fifth hearing on Democratic People's Republic of Korea
(DPRK) in the last eighteen months held by the full Committee. Today's
hearing will focus on the status and prospects for our policy toward
North Korea in the aftermath of Dr. Bill Perry's report to the
Congress last October.
We are pleased to have gathered a distinguished group of witnesses to
discuss this important national security matter. Regrettably, our
concern about North Korea and our policy remains unabated.
Let me discuss why we feel that way. The CIA reported in Congressional
testimony last month that North Korea is continuing to develop the
Taepo Dong II intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), despite a
test moratorium, and could launch the missile this year should it
decide to do so.
The CIA further states that a three-stage Taepo Dong II would be
capable of delivering a several-hundred kilogram payload anywhere in
the United States. The CIA has also concluded that the DPRK is the
world's major supplier of ballistic missiles and technology, primarily
to South Asia and the Middle East.
These transfers to Pakistan, Iran, Syria, and Libya pose a significant
threat to U.S. interests, American forces, and our allies.
It has also been alleged that North Korea may be pursuing an
uranium-based nuclear weapons program while the cost of heavy fuel oil
(HFO) for the 1994 Agreed Framework is likely to top $100 million this
year. There is also continuing concern about being able to get the
IAEA into North Korea to conduct its assessment of their nuclear
program, as well as finding willing underwriters for the nuclear
reactor project.
In recent testimony, the Commander of U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) called
North Korea "the major threat to stability and security in northeast
Asia and the country most likely to involve the U.S. in a large-scale
war".
General Schwartz further stated that North Korea's goal is to unify
the peninsula by force. In addition, American military dependents,
embassy staff and their families in Seoul were recently issued 14,000
gas masks because of the North Korean chemical weapons threat.
According to the Commander in Chief of the Pacific, North Korea
conducted its largest conventional force exercise in years this
winter. Admiral Blair went on to say that North Korea continues to
divert a disproportionate part of their meager national wealth to
military programs.
The DPRK recently declared the nullification of the Northern Limit
Line where they fought a sea battle with South Korea last summer, and
Pyongyang bought 40 Mig-21 fighter jets from Kazakhstan for $8
million.
Recently, the Japanese police seized 250 kilograms (550 pounds) of
amphetamines believed to have originated in North Korea. The seizure,
with an alleged street value of 15 billion yen ($139.5 million), was
the fifth largest single haul of illegal drugs ever seized in Japan.
Confronted with impossible access to the most vulnerable groups of
North Korean citizens, the French NGO, Action Against Hunger, withdrew
from North Korea after two years. Their press release stated, "We are
convinced that the international aid flowing into North Korea is not
reaching the people most in need and that thousands of people continue
to die despite the massive food aid provided to the government."
In the press conference announcing their decision, the group said that
international food aid is undoubtedly being diverted to the military
and the civil servants. The Director of Central Intelligence said that
instead of pursuing real reform, North Korea's strategy is to garner
as much as aid as possible from overseas and has directed its global
diplomacy to that end.
This means more people will needlessly starve as Pyongyang chooses
ideology over reform. The State Department is considering removing
North Korea from the list of state-sponsors of terrorism despite the
fact that North Korea abducted Japanese citizens for use in their
intelligence apparatus; continues to harbor Red Army hijackers; and is
reportedly involved in political assassinations abroad. DPRK agents
recently may have also kidnapped a South Korean clergyman working in
China near the border.
The DPRK continues to severely oppress its citizens, and the
international community has not spoken out forcefully enough about the
day to day horrors of the North Korean gulag. In a highly celebrated
case, several North Korean defectors were forcibly repatriated from
China to a certain death.
Diplomatically, North Korea is willing to talk with anyone but South
Korea. They talk with Rome, Canberra, Tokyo, but not Seoul. Despite
numerous overtures toward Pyongyang, Seoul is rebuffed time and time
again.
It was reported this morning that talks in New York over a visit to
the United States by a high level North Korean official broke off
without agreement. This visit was first proposed by Dr. Perry almost a
year ago. These recent developments are hardly encouraging.
As the North Korea Advisory Group pointed out in its report last
October, before the aforementioned took place, the threat to U.S. and
global interests from North Korea continues to grow despite almost six
years of engagement and close to $1 billion in aid.
It is clear that the challenges presented by North Korea are
significant, and managing the threat is a tremendous policy
undertaking. I look forward to today's testimony about how we plan to
deal with the ever-widening and deepening threat presented by the DPRK
to American interests.
Testifying at the hearing were: The Honorable Wendy R. Sherman,
Counselor, U.S. Department of State; The Honorable Douglas Paal,
President, Asia Pacific Policy Center; Dr. Mitchell B. Reiss,
Director, Reves Center for International Studies, College of William
and Mary; and Mr. Scott Snyder, Representative of Asia
Foundation/Korea.
(end text)
(Distributed by the Office of International Information Programs, U.S.
Department of State. Web site: usinfo.state.gov)



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