print-only banner
The White House Skip Main Navigation
In Focus
News by Date
Federal Facts
West Wing

 Home > News & Policies > March 2001

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
March 7, 2001

Remarks by Secretary of State Colin Powell to the Pool
Hallway Outside of Oval Office

11:54 A.M. EST

SECRETARY POWELL: -- having a very good exchange of views, very candid and straightforward exchange of views. Most of the conversation so far has been on the relationships between North Korea and South Korea, North Korea and the U.S.

And the President forcefully made the point that we are undertaking a full review of our relationship with North Korea, coming up with policies that build on the past, coming up with policies unique to the administration, the other things we want to see put on the table. And in due course, when our review is finished, we'll determine at what pace and when we will engage with the North Koreans.

So I think you'll -- when you have a chance to get in, you'll see that they're having a good, candid set of conversations on this. There was some suggestion that imminent negotiations are about to begin -- that is not the case. We're continuing our review, noting what's been done in the past and getting ourselves ready for what the future holds.

So they're having a good exchange of views and they'll be out here -- you'll be seeing them in a while.

Q Mr. Secretary, do we still view North Korea as a threat?

SECRETARY POWELL: It is a threat; it's got a huge army poised on the border within artillery and rocket distance of South Korea. And the President forcefully made this point to President Kim Dae-Jung, and they still have weapons of mass destruction and missiles that can deliver those weapons of mass destruction. So we have to see them as a threat.

We have to not be naive about the nature of this threat, but at the same time, realize that changes are taking place. So we'll be formulating our policies and, in due course, decide at what pace and when we engage. But there's no hurry.

Q Are you worried about verifiability of --

SECRETARY POWELL: Always. Verifiability and monitoring of what they're doing in a society such as that is very, very difficult, particularly when they can tunnel, when they can hide things. And that was the major factor, frankly, in previous times, where you kind of got stopped.

And so that's one of the things we're looking at in our review, and it will be a major part of our review when he goes through it some more.

The important point here, though, is that both Presidents made the point that they have to work together, stay in touch, ensure that we are working in a trilateral relationship with the Japanese, as well. So they're having a good, candid exchange and the President has made it clear that he understands the nature of regime in Pyongyang and will not be fooled by the nature of that regime and will view it in a very, very realistic -- realistic way.

Okay? I've got to get something -- phone calls taken care of.

END 11:58 A.M. EST