24 January 2002
Transcript: Bolton Says U.S. Will Not Resume Nuclear Testing
(Bush will not seek Senate action on CTBT) (2900)
Under Secretary of State John Bolton says the Bush administration has
no plans to resume nuclear testing, which was halted by the United
States in 1992.
However, Bolton said January 24 at a press conference in Geneva,
Switzerland, that the U.S. Defense Department concluded in its
recently released Nuclear Posture Review that a decision had been made
to "try and upgrade our testing infrastructure. If the strategic
circumstances in the world changed dramatically ... we'd be in a
better position in terms of our testing and research infrastructure
than we are now."
But Bolton, who spoke earlier at the Conference on Disarmament (CD),
said the Bush administration is opposed to the Comprehensive Nuclear
Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) "and we have no plans to seek [U.S.] Senate
action on it as part of the Nuclear Posture Review the Department of
Defense recently concluded."
Following are additional terms and abbreviations used in the text:
-- NPT: Non-Proliferation Treaty.
-- BWC: Biological Weapons Convention.
-- RevCon: Review Conference
-- IAEA: International Atomic Energy Agency.
-- UNMOVIC: United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection
-- FMCT: Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty.
Following is a transcript of Bolton's remarks:
The Honorable John R. Bolton
Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security,
United States Department of State
Palais des Nations
JOHN R. BOLTON: Thank you very much. It's a pleasure to be back. I
hope that you all received copies of the text of the statement that I
just read in the CD. In the interest of time because I know we're a
little bit late here, I won't repeat that other than to say that it
was intended as a general and comprehensive statement of our
administration views on arms control. Obviously I covered a lot of
ground that's not necessarily on the direct agenda of the CD. But I
felt that it was important at the opening of this year's CD to give
that kind of overview, and that's one reasons it was as broad as it
was. But I'd be pleased at this point to take any questions about the
statement or the CD or whatever's on your mind.
QUESTION: If I could ask your view on CTBT, which you didn't make any
reference to today. Do you feel that CTBT is still viable in the
current context of the world? Does the U.S. have any plans at all --
two years, three years, five years from now -- to resume testing?
BOLTON: As President Bush said during the 2000 Presidential election
campaign, he opposes the CTBT and we have no plans to seek Senate
action on it as part of the nuclear posture review the Department of
Defense recently concluded that there was a decision to try and
upgrade our testing infrastructure so as to make it possible to test
in a relatively earlier time if a decision were made. This is been
widely misunderstood. I'd appreciate the opportunity to correct it. We
are going to continue to follow the moratorium on testing that
President Bush announced. This is simply one way of being able to
reduce the level of operational nuclear warheads with some feeling of
assurance that if the strategic circumstances in the world change
dramatically and a decision were made sometime down the road we'd be
in a better position in terms of our testing and research
infrastructure than we are now. We continue to review the safety and
reliability of the current stock of warheads. That's something that's
very high priority for the Department of Defense and the Department of
Energy, to be sure that the deterrent remains safe and reliable for
ourselves and our allies. But, as I say, we have no plans to seek
Senate action on the Treaty.
Q: Could you elaborate more on what you said in your statement on the
Iraqi case concerning violations of NPT?
A: I think it's very clear in the three years since Iraq has
completely excluded the U.N. Weapons Inspectors that they've been
making efforts with respect to a number of weapons of mass destruction
including attempting to acquire a capability in nuclear weapons.
That's one obvious violation of their NPT commitments. That's one of
the reasons why we have tried for so long to get the U.N. Inspectors
back into Iraq. The head of UNMOVIC, Hans Blix, the former head of
IAEA, was just in Washington to meet with Secretary [of State Colin]
Powell and others, including myself. The problem with Iraq and its
resistance to resolution 687 and its unwillingness to comply with its
international obligations, remains a very serious issue for the U.S.
and I think for everyone.
Q: On biological weapons, I'd like to come back to the argument that
you considered the BWC protocol flawed and counterproductive but then
the U.S. will present a number of new proposals which will focus on
national export controls, nationally criminalizing activity and things
like that. How much more productive could that be if you leave it to
the nations concerned including the rogue states relying on their good
will to do all this, especially since you said in a recent speech in
Washington, if I am not mistaken, that this disarmament conference is
like a get together of the police and the Mafia trying to discuss a
A: I think I said "to discuss their shared interest in law
enforcement" actually, something like that. The measures that you
referred to that I elaborated in the speech have already been
presented. We began to consult with our friends and allies on them
last summer in the run up to the BWC RevCon in November and I might
say that we thought that they enjoyed very widespread support and
hoped that had the RevCon come to a conclusion it would have endorsed
them. I don't think that they alone solve the fundamental problem of
non-compliance with the BWC, which is one of the reasons that we felt
that the draft protocol that had been under negotiation was
counterproductive. I think it diverted people's attention from what
the real issue was. The real issue is that while the overwhelming
majority of states are in compliance with the BWC, there are a number
that simply have lied about the commitments that they have undertaken.
I think it is one of our priorities to insist on compliance with
international obligations that nations have undertaken and by focusing
on the issue of non-compliance you can more precisely see just exactly
where the problem is. And looking at the states that are in violation
of the BWC and are seeking other forms of weapons of mass destruction,
it is striking to see the coincidence between that list of nations and
the list of nations that are states sponsors of terrorism in the more
conventional sense. So I think we have a fairly discreet group of
countries that are both pursuing weapons of mass destruction and have
been aiding international terrorism and I think that as part of the
global campaign against terrorism, as President Bush has made clear,
we are going to be addressing that in the months and years ahead.
Q: You've made reference to Iraq and North Korea but no reference to
Iran. What's the reason for that? You say that the U.S. insists on
holding accountable states that violate the non-proliferation
commitments. What sort of accountability structure do you have in
A: This is like déjà vu all over again: why did you name those two
countries and not several others just as we had this discussion at the
time of the Biological Weapons Convention Review Conference. The cases
of Iraq and North Korea I think are particularly important now because
they are the subject of not just the NPT Treaty Commitments, but other
International commitments, the Agreed Framework in the case of North
Korea and the series of the U.N. resolutions in the case of Iraq,
which are intended to bring ultimately both those countries in
compliance. They're countries that are both subjected to additional
enforcement mechanisms, if you will, in addition simply to their
underlying commitments under the NPT. There is no doubt that there are
other countries that are also in violation of the NPT. But for the
purpose of today's conference I wanted to stress those two because of
the particular circumstances that I just mentioned. All I can say, in
terms of naming other ones, stay tuned, I'm sure their time will come.
Q: And the accountability structure?
A: What we are trying to do is make clear that if you focus on
non-compliance with existing treaty obligations, there ought to be
ways, whether through our own action, through actions with like-minded
governments, or coalitions of the willing, to make it clear to
violators of the various arms control agreements that we are not
simply going to allow the behavior to continue. Now I don't mean to
indicate that there are specific plans in mind, but what I do mean to
say is that the time in which countries could sign an international
agreement like the Biological Weapons Convention and lie about their
performance under it, and get away with it, hopefully is over.
Q: Two specific questions. First your comments on CTBT. With the CTBT
being dead and with the U.S. now going slower, completely silent on
this, will FMCT negotiations have any teeth? Would parties to the CD
take FMCT talks seriously when the U.S. is no longer interested in
CTBT. Second question: what do you mean by civilized nations?
A: I think that the merits of an FMCT treaty stand on their on. I
don't think they are linked to CTBT, and I think as I indicated in the
statement, it's one of the objectives of Ambassador Javits and our
delegation here to try and break through the gridlock that the CD's
been in for the past six or seven years, and see in particular if it's
possible to make progress on CTBT. It does indicate to us that one of
the reasons that we are, as I think we all are, concerned about the
situation on the subcontinent, is that we don't have a strategic
framework, a policy framework, for dealing with the question of India
and Pakistan's nuclear capabilities post-1998. The CTBT and the NPT
obviously didn't do anything to slow it down since neither state was a
party to the NPT. But it is a matter of high priority for the United
States. Secretary Powell has been to the region twice most recently,
and then a couple months ago as well. These are issues that we will
undoubtedly being focusing on.
With respect with your second question on the definition of civilized
states, I will simply leave it for today's purposes as saying that all
those states that are not engaged in sponsoring, aiding or harboring
terrorists, and the implication, as President Bush has said
repeatedly, is even states that have been supporters or harborers of
terrorists in the past can change their behavior. That's part of what
global campaign is about not simply the multifaceted step financial,
law enforcement, intelligence sharing, military, political and others,
but helping to convince states that their long term best interest lies
in abjuring terrorism and the pursue of the weapons of mass
Q: In the plenary just now both Iraq and North Korea responded to your
statements and both countries said that delegations from the
International Atomic Energy Agency had visited their country recently
and did not seem to have any problems. And North Korea accused the
United States of not leaving up to the agreement that it signed with
North Korea in 1994 and not building the two large reactors and saying
that because of problems between the Congress and the administration
deliveries of heavy oil that were promised had been delayed causing
difficulties. Could you respond to those questions?
A: Let me do North Korea first. The fact of the matter is that North
Korea has been in violation of its NPT obligations ever since it
signed the agreed framework. It has not, to this day, permitted the
IAEA sufficient access for the IAEA even to make a baseline
determination of what materials and technology North Korea has. Let
alone the kind of verification and analysis that the IAEA needs to be
able to do to determine how much fissile material the North has. So,
it is just a fantasy to say that North Korea has been cooperating with
the IAEA. The United States has been in compliance with the agreed
framework to the extent we can be, dealing with the regime like the
one in Pyongyang. We are going to continue to try and work with Japan
and South Korea to bring the North Koreans into compliance with their
obligations to what they committed to in 1994. Time is running out and
I think they are beginning to understand that. And as far as Iraq
goes, why anybody takes what they say seriously I'm not sure I
understand. If they are so confident about what they said here today,
they ought to let the U.N. weapon inspectors in and allow them and
IAEA to have full access countrywide, no game preserves, no sealed off
areas, as they have for the past several years.
Q: If I could follow up, you said time is running out on the 1994
framework agreement, could you elaborate on that? The North Koreans,
if I recall correctly, are saying that it's the U.S., Japan and South
Korea that are not doing what was agreed to in terms of providing the
light water reactor.
A: The agreement in Article 4 very specifically says that before the
key elements to the reactors are delivered, North Korea has to come in
full compliance with the NPT and their IAEA safeguards agreement. If
you look at the time involved with how much is required to construct
the reactors and to bring them fully into operation, and lay it next
to the amount of time that IAEA will need to do the kind of
professional job that they will do to verify whether in fact North
Korea has made a complete baseline declaration and they have been able
to do all their analyses, in order for those to come together, IAEA
and its inspectors and the work it needs to do, needs to begin moving
at a very rapid pace in the very near future. If that bubble of IAEA
activity doesn't start in time, then the bubble underneath it of
finishing the light water reactors won't be finished in time. But it
would be clear after seven or eight years of not really facing that
kind of time pressure, that if North Korea does not comply with the
requirements of the IAEA, that it will be unambiguously North Korea in
noncompliance. If they comply, then we will comply as well.
Q: Where you make a reference here to the CD having to face up to new
threats by terrorist groups to acquire weapons of mass destruction, do
you have any specific proposal in mind for this particular CD outside
the framework of the bilateral weapons the NPT or the chemical
weapons. Are there other things here in Geneva that they should be
A: The main purpose of that remark and several other things I said was
in response to the kind of comments, I'm sure if you have been
listening to the remarks in the plenary session, you've heard people
say it has been seven years of gridlock or some other say six years of
gridlock, or five years of gridlock, but there isn't a lot of
disagreement that the CD has not been performing up to its potential
for quite some period of time. I think that there are a lot of issues
that could be profitably be discussed in the kind of form the CD
represents and I'm hoping that we can get some new thinking going.
That's one way to break through the gridlock. Other ways would be for
other governments to allow negotiations on the feasible material cut
off treaty and so on. But I think it's time if the possibility is
going to exist for the CD to be more productive, this is really the
time to get moving on it.
Q: Can you throw some light where the U.S. stands on anti-satellite
weapons? Your statement doesn't indicate anything about it.
A: My statement did say: we support the Outer Space Treaty and we have
been concerned for quite sometime with threats that might be posed to
our communications infrastructure and the satellite networks that we
have in space. If you have not read the Rumsfeld Commission Report on
the use of space, I think that's definitely something that could
certainly tell you a lot about current thinking at the Defense
Department. But as I said in my prepared remarks, we don't see any
need for further agreements with respect to space at this point.
Thank you very much!
(Distributed by the Office of International Information Programs, U.S.
Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)
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