Remarks by Ambassador Susan E. Rice, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, on the DPRK and WikiLeaks

Susan E. Rice
U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations 
U.S. Mission to the United Nations 
New York, NY
November 29, 2010




FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Ambassador Rice: Good afternoon. We’ve been discussing North Korea in the Security Council this morning and I’d like to make a brief statement on that.

The recently reported nuclear activities by DPRK are clear violations of UN Security Council Resolutions 1718 and 1874, and of the commitments made by North Korea under the 2005 joint statement. The U.S. strongly condemns these violations. The Security Council will now need to study carefully the recent revelations and determine the appropriate way forward. In the meantime, these developments underscore the need for all states to redouble their commitment to implementing the strong sanctions imposed in Security Council Resolutions 1718 and 1874.

We also expect the Security Council’s DPRK sanctions committee and the UN panel of experts to intensify their important, ongoing efforts to tighten sanctions enforcement. Of course, our concerns about these nuclear activities have only been heightened by North Korea’s deadly, unprovoked attack last week on Yongp'yong, an island under UN command, control, and administered by South Korea. The United States strongly condemns this outrageous action by North Korea which resulted in four deaths – two South Korean marines and two civilians – and wounded 18 soldiers and civilians.

We continue to call on North Korea to cease its irresponsible actions against its neighbors, to fully abide by the terms of the armistice, and to adhere to its international obligations. And we will continue to work with the international community to maintain peace and security in this region as we simultaneously confront the threat posed by North Korea’s ongoing nuclear activities.
Happy to take a few questions.

Reporter: I have a question about WikiLeaks, actually, especially this cable that suggested the U.S. Embassy was moving beyond diplomacy to espionage here at the UN. How damaging is that for your relations with allies and adversaries, the idea that you are actually spying on them?

Ambassador Rice: Let me be very clear. Our diplomats are just that – they’re diplomats. That’s what they do every day. They get out and they work with other countries, with partners here and in the United Nations and around the world to confront the most pressing global challenges that we face and to advance U.S. national interests. And they do so with enormous skill and integrity. I couldn’t be more proud of them as they conduct the work of the U.S. Government and do the work that diplomats do around the world.

Reporter: Ambassador, it’s alleged through the WikiLeaks documents that your diplomats would ask to take personal information in some cases, like frequent flyer miles, credit cards, and -- were they asked to do so, and had they used diplomatic resources at the time to do so?

Ambassador Rice: Our diplomats are doing what diplomats do around the world every day, which is build relationships, negotiate, advance our interests, and work to find common solutions to complex problems. That’s what they do. And they do it extremely well, with great integrity, with hard work. And I want to just underscore that in the complex world in which we live, the work that U.S. diplomats do here in the United Nations and around the world is indispensible to our national security and substantially advances our shared interests in international peace and security.

Reporter: Are you therefore denying the authenticity of the cables?

Ambassador Rice: I’m not going to get into commenting on classified material or alleged classified material and its contents. I have said what I’m going to say on that topic.

Reporter: Can you give us some indication of what sort of diplomatic damage the release of these cables has done on your ability to do your work, on American diplomats here and abroad, their ability to do anything new?

Ambassador Rice: I can say with confidence that American diplomats here at the United Nations and around the world will continue to do with – excellently the work they do every day in supporting and advancing the interests of the United States, and I am confident that their ability to do so will endure and indeed strengthen.

This has been a time when the United States, under President Obama’s leadership, has made enormous progress in repairing and rebuilding our relationships with partners and allies around the world. It’s a time when we’ve come together here in the United Nations and many other fora to tackle issues from proliferation, to terrorism, to environmental degradation and climate change, and we’ve done so in a way that has been helpful to the interests and the wellbeing of the American people and indeed people around the world. We’re very proud of that work, and we’re going to continue to do it. Thank you very much.

Reporter: North Korea.

Reporter: North Korea --

Reporter: Wait, wait, wait. Can you get --

Reporter: (Inaudible) method of (inaudible) so far?

Ambassador Rice: Well, today’s discussion, as you know, focused primarily on the nuclear program and the report of the 1718 Committee. We’re in ongoing discussions about that, and I suspect that our discussions on the nuclear file will continue both today and beyond. As you heard Ambassador Lyall Grant say, there are consultations ongoing amongst council members on these issues, and we look forward to continuing them.

Reporter: Do you hope that China will do more --

Ambassador Rice: I can’t hear you.

Reporter: Do you hope that China will do more to use its clout, its diplomatic clout with North Korea to help it come around to be more cooperative?

Ambassador Rice: Well, we’re certainly in close consultations with China and other critical countries in the region. And obviously, we’ve looked to China to play a responsible leadership role in working to maintain peace and security in that region. It’s in China’s interest. It’s in the interest of the countries in the region, and we expect them to take steps that are consistent with their obligations and all of our obligations under UN Security Council resolutions, and to work, as we all must, to uphold them and implement them.
Thank you.

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PRN: 2010/298