John Kerry on North Korea: ‘We have not exhausted diplomacy’

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November 28, 2017

The same day that North Korea launched its latest intercontinental ballistic missile, former Secretary of State John Kerry called on US decision-makers to give diplomacy a chance.

November 28, 2017

The same day that North Korea launched its latest intercontinental ballistic missile, former Secretary of State John Kerry called on US decision-makers to give diplomacy a chance.

"There's a false narrative about North Korea that has been purposefully promulgated … that somehow diplomacy has failed, and therefore it is only 'fire' and 'fury' that is going to meet this challenge and be effective," Kerry said Tuesday.

Kerry's statement was a nod to President Donald Trump's statement in August that "North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States" or "they will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen."

But the truth, Kerry said – which is "depressingly … absent from the American dialogue" – is that "we have not exhausted diplomacy."

The former diplomat made his remarks just hours after North Korea launched what US and South Korean military analysts say was likely an intercontinental ballistic missile.

Kerry went on to draw comparisons between North Korea's nuclear program and that of Iran prior to the nuclear agreement with that country, noting that it took the US and the international community "35 years of not talking with Iran" to get them to the negotiating table – and they didn't yet have a nuclear weapon, as North Korea does.

Trump's rhetoric, Kerry went on to say, makes it far more difficult to get North Korea to the negotiating table.

Kerry's point about the need for diplomacy was echoed by a prominent Republican – Stephen Hadley, who was national security adviser to President George W. Bush.

"I don't think diplomacy is over," said Hadley. "I think diplomacy has to be tried yet again."

The two men, on opposite sides of the political aisle, were speaking at an event on nuclear weapons, which was arranged prior to Tuesday's ICBM test.

Kerry spoke forcefully at Tuesday's event in defense of the Iran nuclear deal, which he was instrumental in framing during his tenure as secretary of state during President Barack Obama's second term.

Early last month, Trump announced he would "decertify" the Iran agreement, effectively sending it to Congress for further action without discarding it entirely.

Asked what would happen in the absence of the Iran agreement, Kerry said, "I think, without exaggeration, the likelihood is very high that we would have been in a conflict."

He added that Iran was a "threshold nuclear nation" when the US was negotiating the deal, and "we actually took the capacity to have a nuclear weapon, and put it on the shelf, and made it impossible to achieve without us knowing it."

Hadley also offered support for the Iran nuclear agreement, saying he hopes Trump will take steps to improve the deal rather than dismantle it.


Courtesy/Source: CNN