Committee on International Relations
U.S. House of Representatives
Henry J. Hyde, Chairman

CONTACT: Sam Stratman, (202) 226-7875, February 3, 2005

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North Korea Proliferation Challenge
Leach Hearing on Possible Solutions to Resolve Nuclear Threat

BACKGROUND: On February 10, 2005, the North Korean Foreign Ministry issued a statement in which Pyongyang announced that it would counter Washington’s “hostile policy” by “increasing” its “nuclear weapons arsenal” and “suspending” its participation in six-party talks on the Democratic People’s Party of Korea’s (DPRK) nuclear weapons program. Claiming that United States policy remained “hostile,” the statement pointed to Secretary of State Rice’s confirmation hearings reference to North Korea as an “outpost of tyranny” and linked her comment to President Bush’s inaugural address call for “ending tyranny.” The statement said North Korea “cannot find one single word on coexistence with us” in recent Administration comments. The statement, which included its most unambiguous public claim to possess nuclear weapons, concluded that there is no change in North Korea's position of resolving the nuclear issue through negotiations and that North Korea's ultimate goal is a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula.

WHAT:         Joint Subcommittee Oversight Hearing: The North Korean Nuclear Challenge: Is There a Way Forward?

                    Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific, U.S. Rep. James A. Leach (R-IA), Chairman

                    Subcommittee on Int’l Terrorism and Nonproliferation, U.S. Rep. Edward R. Royce (R-CA), Chairman

WHEN:         10:00 a.m., Thursday, February 17, 2005

WHERE:       Room 2172 Rayburn House Office Building

WITNESSES: Mr. Ralph Cossa, President, Pacific Forum Center for Strategic and International Studies; Nicholas Eberstadt, Ph.D., Henry Wendt Scholar in Political Economy, American Enterprise Institute; Jon Wolfsthal, Deputy Director for Non-Proliferation, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace; and Robert Sutter, Ph.D., Professor of Asian Studies, School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University.

In light of these negative developments, the joint Subcommittee hearing on North Korea will explore such issues as:
· Whether diplomatic solution to the nuclear crisis is still possible?
· Does the Administration have a viable and consistent strategy for dealing with North Korea?

Whether, as a complement to the six-party process, should the U.S. engage in serious and sustained bilateral dialogue with Pyongyang? Should the U.S. prioritize the nuclear threat and focus on reversing the plutonium program?
Should the U.S. seek to increase China’s (and South Korea’s) “ownership” of the North Korean problem and, if so, how? Would a more active Chinese role marginalize the U.S?
Under what conditions will countries in the region consider more coercive alternatives, and are these alternatives likely to be effective?
Whose side is time on – North Korea or the United States?
If a diplomatic solution is not achievable, is the permanent possession of nuclear weapons by North Korea an acceptable outcome for the United States or other six-party participants?
Should the U.S. establish the transfer of WMD (and related technology) as a clear “redline” justifying resort to sanctions or the use of force?

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