Phuket, Thailand U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton plans to tell North Korea that it can avoid “unrelenting” sanctions and win normalized relations with the U.S. by completely scrapping its nuclear program.
Officials said Clinton intends to announce today that if North Korea takes irreversible steps to denuclearize, then the United States and its negotiating partners would be willing to reciprocate in a “comprehensive and coordinated fashion.”
“Full normalization of relations, a permanent peace regime, and significant energy and economic assistance are all possible in the context of full and verifiable denuclearization,” Clinton says in excerpts of prepared remarks released late Wednesday by her staff.
“In the meantime, we will undertake the necessary defensive measures to protect our interests and our allies. North Korea’s ongoing threatening behavior does not inspire trust, nor does it permit us to sit idly by,” she says.
The Obama administration approach outlined by Clinton combines the lure of full normal relations with the U.S. and its allies with the threat of stiff international sanctions if North Korea continues with its nuclear buildup.
Clinton’s emphasis on international cooperation to deter growing nuclear threats hit at least one sour note on Wednesday.
Clinton said during an earlier television interview in Bangkok that the U.S. would also turn to its international partners in dealing with Iran, extending a “defense umbrella” over its Persian Gulf allies to prevent Iran from dominating the region “once they have a nuclear weapon.”
“We want Iran to calculate what I think is a fair assessment: that if the United States extends a defense umbrella over the region, if we do even more to develop the military capacity of those (allies) in the Gulf, it is unlikely that Iran will be any stronger or safer because they won’t be able to intimidate and dominate as they apparently believe they can once they have a nuclear weapon,” she said.