Powell and Our Asian Alliances


By Kathleen T. Rhem, AFPS

WASHINGTON, Feb. 23, 2003 — The United States, Britain, and other countries will table a U.N. Security Council resolution "sometime early next week," Secretary of State Colin Powell said in Japan today.

"The resolution … will be a simple resolution, directly to the point," to ask the Security Council to recognize that Iraq has not fulfilled its responsibilities under previous resolutions, Powell said during a press conference at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo.

The secretary is in Asia to attend the inauguration of President Roh Moo-hyun of South Korea and to visit American friends and allies in the region. In Tokyo, Powell met with Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and Foreign Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi.

Iraq was the subject of many of the talks, Powell said. He noted the Security Council would need "a period of consultation" before there could be a vote on any proposed resolution.

"The bottom line, however, is that time is running out for Iraq," he continued. "We cannot sit by and idly let Iraq continue to thwart the will of the international community."

He likened the current situation to the one the Security Council faced when they voted on U.N. Security Council Resolution 1441 on Nov. 8, 2002. "And that is, Iraq is still not complying, and time is drawing to a close when the international community — the Security Council — must show its relevance by insisting that Iraq disarm or that Iraq be disarmed by a coalition of forces that will go in and do it."

North Korea is also high on the list of any discussions with Asian leaders. Powell said North Korea’s restarting its plutonium-production facility at Yongbyong and its pursuit of nuclear weapons violate that country’s "promises to the world that we would have a nuclear-weapons-free Korean Peninsula."

He reiterated the American position that the situation must be dealt with multilaterally with all the countries that have a stake in the region. North Korea has insisted it will deal only with the United States.

Powell said this is not just a U.S.-North Korean problem, but the United States and other countries stand "ready, willing and able" to help North Korea deal with its severe economic woes and vast numbers of citizens facing starvation as soon as that country abandons its nuclear weapons programs.

He also thanked the Japanese people for their continued support to the war on terrorism and reconstruction of Afghanistan. The Japanese have contributed to building a "ring road" linking Kandahar, Kabul and Herat. Powell said this road will "bring the country together, politically and economically."