Theodore's World: Kerry and Bolton In A "Who's on First" Routine

« UN Ambulance Picking Up Fighters In Gaza Strip | Main | Shiite Sheehan Will Go To Jordan For Peace Talks ~ Gag Me! »

July 29, 2006

Kerry and Bolton In A "Who's on First" Routine

This is the entrie transcript of Kerry and Bolton....................

Senator Kerry?

KERRY: Thank you. I know all the comments have been made about the flood here, so I won't make any more.

I apologize for being delayed. We had a mark-up in the Small Business Committee, and as ranking member, I had to be there.

I heard a few of the questions from my office, and obviously I don't want to go over territory that's been well-covered, Mr. Ambassador, so I want to just have a chance to be able to pursue a few things with you.

I did hear in answer to one question from somebody, I think it was from the chair, that your views about the U.N. itself have not changed.

And so I'd just be curious to sort of -- what are those views at this point? I mean there was a lot of debate here, if you'll recall, about what those views were, and I'd just be curious to know what conclusions you've drawn about the U.N. at this point in time.

BOLTON: I think his question was what did I find at the U.N. that I had not expected. And I think my response was "very little," because I have studied and worked in U.N. matters for 25 years.

And I'm sure there are things I don't know, but I've worked in the area for a long time.

My views are, as I said in my opening statement in April of last year, that we are committed to a strong and effective United Nations. To do that, it requires substantial reform. That it can be an effective adjunct of American foreign policy; I think it's been demonstrated in a variety of areas that we've discussed here today in the context of Lebanon, North Korea and Iran. And that that's why we're exerting the efforts that we are within the Security Council on a variety of substantive policy matters and on the question of U.N. reform.

KERRY: You say that to be effective it requires reform. What is the principal reform that is required for the U.N. itself to be effective with respect to Iran or with respect to North Korea or Resolution 1559 in Lebanon? What reform would make a difference to that effectiveness?

BOLTON: I'm not sure that reform as such would have a difference there. That is more a question in the Security Council of reaching policy agreement among the 15 members of the council and particularly the PERM 5.

KERRY: And isn't it fair to say that we're sort of the odd person out on most of those policies?

BOLTON: I wouldn't say that, no.

KERRY: Well, with respect to North Korea, let's look at that for a minute. Russia and the South Koreans were unwilling to join us, isn't that correct, with respect to the sanction effort?

BOLTON: That's clearly not correct, because they did. And in fact, we worked very closely with the Russians in the negotiation, 11 days of very intense negotiation to get Resolution 1695, and worked very closely with the Republic of Korea's mission to the U.N. to get their agreement to the resolution, as well.

KERRY: I beg to differ with you, Mr. Ambassador.

They didn't get on board a tough Chapter 7 resolution, did they? That was our position.

BOLTON: They got on board a resolution which is binding, as our judgment is binding under Chapter 7, that's correct.

KERRY: They didn't get on a tough resolution 7, did they -- Chapter 7?

BOLTON: Yes, they did.

KERRY: They did?

BOLTON: We believe this resolution is binding under Chapter 7. It does not contain the words "Chapter 7," but our conclusion is based on the entire wording of the resolution that it imposes binding constraints on North Korea. Other member governments -- that's the interpretation of Britain, France and Japan and the other four cosponsors as well.

KERRY: Prior to the adoption, speaking to reporters on July 6th, you said, quote, "I think it's important that the Security Council speak under Chapter 7 to make a binding resolution." Is that correct?

BOLTON: That's correct.

KERRY: Then on July 14th, just a day before they acted, you said you continued to insist on a resolution under Chapter 7 which would make any sanctions mandatory.

KERRY: You stressed the importance of a, quote, "clear, binding Chapter 7 resolution. That remains our view and the view of Japan." You went so far as to warn that if there's to be a veto, there comes a time when countries have to go into that chamber and raise their hand.

That's not what happened, is it?

BOLTON: As I said before, it's our judgment this is a mandatory resolution.

KERRY: But the judgment -- but it's not the way it's viewed by the other parties.

BOLTON: It's viewed that way by Japan, England and France.

KERRY: Well, the Russians certainly aren't prepared to join in it, nor are the...

BOLTON: They voted for it.

KERRY: But not in its clarity.

I mean, Assistant Secretary Hill's testimony before this committee last week said that the administration's strategy on North Korea is shifting from failed negotiations to sanctions.

And since you don't have Russia, you don't have China and you don't have South Korea on the binding resolution, how are you going to do that?

BOLTON: I think we do.

You know, what the resolution says, Senator, is the Security Council demands -- that includes Russia and China -- the Security Council demands that the DPRK suspend all activity related to its ballistic missile programs -- demands.

And you know what North Korea did? You know what they thought of that resolution? They sat there in the council chamber and, after we voted to adopt it, they rejected it and got up and walked out of the council chamber.

I think that resolution had a clear effect on North Korea.

KERRY: What was the effect?

BOLTON: That they understand how isolated they are. And you'll note that, as reported in the papers the other day, the government of China has begun to take steps with respect to North Korean banking, which is consistent with operative paragraphs 3 and 4 of the resolution that require -- "require" is the word we use -- the Security Council requires that all U.N. member-governments cease their procurement from or supply to any of North Korea's programs relating to ballistic missiles or weapons of mass destruction.

KERRY: Well, let's come back to be precise, because this is a precise world we live in. It is accurate -- I have the resolution right in front of me. It says, "demands that the DPRK suspend all activities related to its ballistic missile program," but it doesn't impose Chapter 7 sanctions.

BOLTON: We didn't seek to impose Chapter 7 sanctions.

KERRY: Well, how are you going to achieve this if you're not going to have sanctions if you don't have the other countries prepared to have the sanctions? The reason you don't have sanctions...

BOLTON: Because the first...

KERRY: ... is they weren't prepared to do it; isn't that correct?

BOLTON: No, because that was not part of our original resolution. The first step here was to pass this resolution which says...

KERRY: You're telling me they would be prepared to impose sanctions?

BOLTON: You know, Senator, we had consultations with Japan and the United Kingdom and France about how to approach this resolution. And as I mentioned earlier today, there were a variety of different steps that we could have taken. It was our judgment that the best way to proceed was along the lines that are now embodied in Resolution 1695.

That is certainly not to say that the council might not take other steps in the future. But the steps we sought to take we have now taken, unanimously.

KERRY: Well, you're losing me a little bit because, I mean, North Korea defied the world's request not to test an intercontinental missile. If ever there was a moment -- you are the ones who said you wanted sanctions but were unable to get Russia and others to sign onto that concept.

BOLTON: Senator, we said we wanted what we got.

KERRY: Well, the most that you seem to want is to go back to a six-party talk that isn't in existence.

BOLTON: No, no, quite the contrary. We said expressly...

KERRY: Are you prepared to go to bilateral talks?

BOLTON: Quite the contrary. We said expressly that what we wanted from North Korea was not simply a return to the six-party talks, but an implementation of the September 2005 joint statement from the six-party talks which would mean their dismantlement of their nuclear weapons program.

KERRY: But this has been going on for five years, Mr. Ambassador.

BOLTON: It's the nature of multilateral negotiations, Senator.

KERRY: Why not engage in a bilateral one and get the job done? That's what the Clinton administration did.

BOLTON: Very poorly, since the North Koreans violated the agreed framework almost from the time it was signed. And I would also say, Senator, that we do have the opportunity for bilateral negotiations with North Korea in the context of the six-party talks, if North Korea would come back to them.

KERRY: Mr. Ambassador, at the time -- Secretary Perry has testified before this committee, as well as others -- they knew that there would be the probability they would try to do something outside of the specificity of the agreement.

But the specificity of the agreement was with respect to the rods and the inspections and the television cameras and the reactor itself.

BOLTON: Senator, the agreed framework requires North Korea and South Korea to comply with the joint North-South denuclearization agreement, which in turn provides no nuclear weapons programs on the Korean Peninsula.

So it was not limited only to the plutonium reprocessing program.

KERRY: Mr. Ambassador, the bottom line is that no plutonium was reprocessed under that agreement. No plutonium was reprocessed until the cameras were kicked out, the inspectors were kicked out, the rods were taken out, and now they have four times the nuclear weapons they had when you came on watch.

BOLTON: Because the North Koreans...

KERRY: The question here is -- I mean, a whole host of people have testified before this committee and others.

I mean, my objection is that if you look at the policies across the board, and we're not going to resolve it here now, obviously, I understand that.


KERRY: But here's another good reason to think about this.

It's hard to pick up the newspaper today, it's hard to talk to any leader anywhere in the world, it's hard to travel abroad as a senator and not run headlong into the isolation of the United States and the divisions that exist between us and our allies on any number of different issues.

Now, it is very hard to sit here and say that the six-party talks have been a success.

BOLTON: I don't believe I've said that.

KERRY: I know. I didn't suggest you have. But what I'm trying to get at is the policy foundation itself -- why insist on a six-party talk process which, it seems to me, never joins the fundamental issues between the United States and North Korea, which go back a long, long time, over Republican and Democratic administrations?

BOLTON: I think the reason for that is that the disagreement is not fundamentally a bilateral disagreement between North Korea and the United States. It's a disagreement between North Korea and everybody else about their pursuit of a nuclear weapons capability.

And the aspect of the six-party talks that we think was most important was not negotiating over the head of South Korea, which was the consequence of the agreed framework, but bringing in all of the regional partners, South Korea, Japan, Russia and China, to address this question collectively, since it was in all of our interests to do so.

KERRY: Most of the people that I've talked to spent a lot of time in various thoughtful institutions thinking about these issues -- a career -- believe that what North Korea wants more than anything is an assurance that the United States of America wasn't going to have a strategy similar to Iraq directed at them.

And I think the assurance most people have suggested that if there were to be some kind of bilateral discussion to get at the issues between the two of us, you'd have far more opportunity to get at the nuclear issue than you do through these stand-off, nonexistent six-party talks that have produced nothing over five and a half years.


KERRY: Why is the administration so unwilling to talk to Syria, talk to even pursue these issues? It doesn't seem as though this nontalk approach is getting you very far.

BOLTON: First, the six-party talks have not been going on for five and a half years.

Second, one of the principal...

KERRY: No, because no talks were going on for the first couple of years, and then the six-party talks were a cover for not dealing with bilateral talks. I understand.

BOLTON: The principal reason that we haven't had six-party talks in 10 months is because North Korea won't accept China's invitation to come to the talks. But we have made it clear to them repeatedly that they could have and they have had bilateral conversations with the United States in the context of the six-party talks.

BOLTON: So the question as to why the six-party talks have not proceeded here, I think lies squarely in Pyongyang.

KERRY: Well, the world and North Korea are getting more dangerous, as you resist the notion of engaging in any kind of bilateral effort as an administration -- not you, personally, I guess, but...

BOLTON: Senator, really, it's hard to understand how you can't look at the notion of conducting the bilateral conversations in the six-party talks and not say that North Korea has an opportunity to make its case to us.

KERRY: Sir, with all due respect, I mean, you know -- what I've seen work and not work over the course of the years I've been here depends on what kind of deal you're willing to make or not make and what your fundamental policies are.

If you're a leader in North Korea, looking at the United States, and you've seen the United States attack Iraq on presumptions of weapons of mass destruction that didn't exist, if you announce a preemptive strategy of regime change, if you are pursuing your own new nuclear weapons, bunker busting nuclear weapons, and you're sitting in another country, you would have a perception of threat that makes you make a certain set of decisions.

And historically throughout the Cold War, that drove the United States and the then-Soviet Union to escalate and escalate. And first one did and then the other.

In fact -- in fact -- in every single case, we were the first, with the exception of two particular weapons systems to develop a nuclear breakthrough first. They followed -- until ultimately, President Reagan, a conservative president, and President Gorbachev said we're going to come down in Reykjavik to no weapons.

So we reversed 50 years of spending money and chasing this thing.

I would respectfully suggest to you that North Korea is sitting there making a set of presumptions. And unless you begin to alter some of the underlying foundation of those presumptions, you're stuck.

The problem is, we're stuck too, as a consequence. And a lot of us feel very, very deeply that the six-party talks have never been real and never been a way of achieving this goal. And as long as we're on this course, we're stuck.

COLEMAN: The chair would note that it's been extremely generous.


KERRY: Maybe you can respond to that, Mr. Ambassador?

BOLTON: Well, I think that the effort that has been made is to give North Korea the opportunity to make the choice, to come out of its isolation, to give up its nuclear weapons programs and to enjoy the kind of life that the people in South Korea enjoy.

BOLTON: There's a great map, Senator -- I'm sure you've seen a copy of it -- of the Korean Peninsula at night. And South Korea is filled with light; North Korea is black. It looks like South Korea is an island. That's what that regime has done to its people.

We could...

KERRY: Sir, I know what a terrible regime it is. I understand that.

BOLTON: We have tried to give them the chance, through the six- party talks, to end that isolation. And as I say, for 10 months, they haven't even been willing to go back to Beijing.

KERRY: I have to tell you something. About three years ago or four years ago, I can't remember precisely when, the North Koreans were casting about here in Washington, asking people who do we talk to? They were looking for a deal. And the administration just blanked them. There was no willingness to do this.

This is pre going to the six-party talks. Then we get to the six-party talks, and we've gone through a series of evolutions since then.

So with all due respect, a lot of folks think there's a different course. You don't. The administration doesn't. But I think it's important to talk about it, and I think it's important to lay it out there.

And we have, similarly, on 1559, which called for the disarmament of Hezbollah. That was not a priority for the last year, and we are where we are.

BOLTON: I would disagree it was not a priority, but I'm not sure...

KERRY: Can you tell me what you did at the U.N. that has put it on the front-burner agenda?

BOLTON: I think really at this point I'd just refer you to my earlier testimony where I talked about a number of resolutions and presidential statements that we had adopted to put more pressure on Syria, both with respect to 1559 and 1595, which I think is another quite important resolution pursuing the Hariri assassination.

And I think that in fact, the issue of Lebanon generally is probably the best example of U.S. cooperation with France in a matter in the Security Council that we've had in recent years.

KERRY: Well, again, we can debate, and we're not going to here, so I'll let that go.


COLEMAN: Thank you, Senator Kerry. The Senate does have a tradition of unlimited debate. We will bring this hearing to a close.

Ambassador, diplomats have to operate in all sorts of environments, all sorts of conditions. You've done that through your career and obviously demonstrated the capacity to do it today.

We will keep the record open until the close of business Friday the 28th.

With that, this hearing is now adjourned.


Posted by Wild Thing at July 29, 2006 12:47 AM


I like Bolton's reference to the failure of Clinton's bilateral agreement with North Korea, "almost from the time it was signed".

Posted by: TomR at July 29, 2006 10:26 AM

giggle.....I do too Tom. I loved how Bolton just zapped Kerry a good one within in seconds. heh heh

Posted by: Wild Thing at July 29, 2006 10:48 AM

Makes me proud of the decisions I made at the last election, absolutely no on Kerry. Bolton is a tiger, not just a paper tiger, he exposed Kerry for what he is, just a Communist sympathizer. I shudder at the thought of anyone like Kerry in the presidency, We'd have the green crescent flying over the Whitehouse and both houses in thobes. They'd clean out the Pelosi's , the Cantwell's, the Murray's and the Feinsteins who's heads would roll and the remaining women would be wearing their burqas.

I wonder when John is going to disclose that dishonorable discharge?

Posted by: Jack at July 29, 2006 08:44 PM

Jack I bet Kerry never discloses it. At least not in the next million years. haha

Posted by: Wild Thing at July 30, 2006 12:27 AM

God I love it, I see him and all I can think
of is You Rannnnnnngggg,but I think lurch was
better looking and his loverrly wife dropped
the Kerry handle so I guess he ain't on of the
Hinze57.ding dong the witch is dead...

Posted by: Tincan Sailor at July 30, 2006 04:51 PM