Chicago, IL - Statement of Senator Barack Obama on the Agreement with North Korea:
"North Korea's agreement to these verification measures is a modest step forward in dismantling its nuclear weapons programs. President Bush's decision to remove North Korea from the list of state sponsors of terrorism is an appropriate response, as long as there is a clear understanding that if North Korea fails to follow through there will be immediate consequences. It is now essential that North Korea halt all efforts to reassemble its nuclear facilities, place them back under IAEA supervision, and cooperate fully with the international community to complete the disablement of the Yongbyon facilities and to implement a robust verification mechanism to confirm the accuracy of its nuclear declaration.
"The last eight years have demonstrated the necessity of confronting the threat from North Korea through aggressive, sustained, and direct bilateral and multilateral diplomacy. Too often, there has been a failure to effectively engage our partners throughout this effort. We must dramatically improve coordination with our allies Japan and South Korea, as well as with China and Russia, particularly as we ensure that any agreement reached on verification is fully implemented.
"If North Korea refuses to permit robust verification, we should lead all members of the Six Party talks in suspending energy assistance, re-imposing sanctions that have recently been waived, and considering new restrictions. Our objective remains the complete and verifiable elimination of North Korea's nuclear weapons programs. This must include getting clarity on North Korea's efforts to enrich uranium and its proliferation of nuclear technology abroad.
"Looking ahead, North Korea must also resolve all questions about the abduction of Japanese and South Korean citizens, and of the Reverend Kim Dong-Shik. I urge the Bush Administration to continue to use our diplomatic and economic leverage to press North Korea to cooperate fully with Tokyo, Seoul and Washington on these matters.
"The Six Party Talks offer North Korea a clear choice. If North Korea abandons its nuclear weapons programs, there will be meaningful incentives. If it refuses, it faces a future of political and economic isolation," said Senator Barack Obama.