U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says sanctions against North
Korea will not be relaxed until Pyongyang takes verifiable,
irreversible steps toward complete denuclearization.
In a speech in Washington, Clinton said Pyongyang should be under "no
illusion" that the United States will ever have normal, sanctions-free
relations with a nuclear-armed North Korea. She said the United States
is prepared to meet bilaterally with North Korea, but that Pyongyang's
return to the negotiating table is "not enough" for a more normal
relationship with Washington.
She said thwarting the nuclear ambitions of North Korea and Iran is
critical to efforts to shore up the global non-proliferation regime.
On Iran, she said the "door is open" to a better future for the
country, but the process for engagement can not be "open-ended."
She said the United States is not prepared to talk to Iran "just for
the sake of talking." She said the constructive beginning from Iran's
recent meeting with six world powers in Geneva needs to be followed up
by "constructive actions."
In the address at the U.S. Institute of Peace, Clinton also called for
expanding the authority of the International Atomic Energy Agency. She
said the IAEA does not have the tools or authority to carry out its
mission effectively. She said that was evident in its failure to detect
Iran's covert enrichment plant and Syria's reactor project.
Clinton, who visited Russia last week, also spoke optimistically about
a new nuclear arms reduction treaty being negotiated between the United
States and Russia. She said the sides are aiming to reach a new treaty
by the time the current START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) agreement expires in early December.
In her speech, she also noted President Obama has pledged the United
States' commitment to seeking a world without nuclear weapons.
The administration is pushing the U.S. Senate to ratify a global accord
banning the testing of nuclear weapons. Clinton's husband and then-U.S
President Bill Clinton signed the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty
in 1996, but the Senate rejected it three years later.
The secretary of state said U.S. ratification of the treaty would
encourage the international community to move forward with other
essential non-proliferation steps.