Statement of Senator Barack Obama on the North Korean DeclarationJune 27th, 2008 - 7:31 pm ICT by Amrit Rashmisrisethi
This is a step forward, and there will be many more steps to take in the days ahead. Critical questions remain unanswered. We still have not verified the accuracy of the North Korean declaration. We must confirm the full extent of North Korea’s past plutonium production. We must also confirm its uranium enrichment activities, and get answers to disturbing questions about its proliferation activities with other countries, including Syria.
The declaration has not yet been made available, so Congress has not had a chance to review it. Before weighing in on North Korea’s removal from the list of state sponsors of terrorism, Congress must take the next 45 days to examine the adequacy of the North Korean declaration and verification procedures. Sanctions are a critical part of our leverage to pressure North Korea to act. They should only be lifted based on North Korean performance. If the North Koreans do not meet their obligations, we should move quickly to re-impose sanctions that have been waived, and consider new restrictions going forward.
We should continue to pursue the kind of direct and aggressive diplomacy with North Korea that can yield results. The objective must be clear: the complete and verifiable elimination of North Korea’s nuclear weapons programs, which only expanded while we refused to talk. As we move forward, we must not cede our leverage in these negotiations unless it is clear that North Korea is living up to its obligations.
As President, I will work from the very beginning of my term in office to secure the American people and our interests in this vital region. We must work with diligence and determination with our friends and allies to end this dangerous threat, and to secure a lasting peace on the Korean peninsula.