Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

Nuclear sector in North Korea (KEDO)

Delivered in Plenary - 6th November 2002

Mr President

North Korea is a brutal, secretive communist dictatorship. It has a history of political assassination, blowing up the South Korean cabinet in Rangoon a few years back. It has blown up a South Korean civilian airliner. It has kidnapped innocent Japanese civilians, most of whom have died in mysterious circumstances. Most recently, it has starved many of its people to death due to its disastrous isolationist economic policies. It remains a failing and rogue state which means that the West, including the European Union, must tread very carefully in its attempts to engage with North Korea and bring it out of the cold.

The DPRK agreed in 1994 to freeze and dismantle its nuclear programme, and by its recent admission of possession of nuclear weapons it has clearly breached the non-proliferation treaty and the agreed framework of KEDO. I believe it is right to call this regime part of the axis of evil. Unlike Iraq, which has yet to acquire nuclear weapons, it is now too late to do anything militarily to prevent its nuclear proliferation. Every pressure must be brought to bear to allow International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors back in. Pakistan, our ally in the war on terrorism, should also be challenged on its role in this weapons programme, as it allegedly provided an exchange for North Korean missiles to weaponise its own nuclear bomb. China's role needs scrutiny and that country must be reminded that it is officially opposed to the nuclearisation of the Korean peninsula.

If the DPRK does not agree to reverse its policy and disarm in terms of its nuclear weapons then the whole KEDO contribution by the European Union should be terminated. I support placing the budgetary line as a first step in the reserve to be released according to diplomatic progress. Nevertheless, humanitarian aid must continue through the World Food Programme and ECHO. The European Union is one of the few bodies to have formal relations with this country and must use its leverage and access to its government to resolve this situation satisfactorily.