Ban Ki-Moon: Rice Should Talk with North Korea

Oct. 15, 2006 — -- U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice should have diplomatic talks with North Korea, U.N. Secretary-General designate Ban Ki-moon told Bill Weir on Sunday's "Good Morning America Weekend Edition."

"If possible, it would be a good opportunity," he said. "The United States has expressed on many occasions that they will be prepared to talk with North Korea if and when they return to six-party talks. … I hope North Korea will take this opportunity to discuss all their concerns."

The United Nations Security Council unanimously passed a resolution Saturday that will impose harsh sanctions against North Korea just six days after Kim Jong Il's rogue regime declared that it conducted an underground nuclear test.

The Security Council said the North Korean test amounted to a "clear threat to international peace and security."

Immediately after the vote, North Korean Ambassador Pak Gil Yon addressed the Council and rejected the U.N. move, calling it a "gangster-like action."

"This clearly shows the Security Council has completely lost its impartiality," he said, "as it persists in applying double standards in its work."

Ban told "GMA" on Sunday, "This is very much regrettable that North Korea declared the rejection."

Ban, the current minister of foreign affairs and trade for South Korea, said he "hopes North Korea will comply fully to [the] resolutions."

The U.N. vote faced delays because of objections by China and Russia. China objected to a provision that would have allowed for the search of all cargo ships headed into or out of North Korea. The Chinese delegation maintained that intrusive searches could provoke further conflict in the region. The final resolution will allow for vessels to be searched "when necessary."

Despite China's hesitancy, Ban Ki-moon told Weir that he believes Saturday's resolution will be fully enforced.

"I'm confident that member states … will fully implement this resolution so that there will be no concern for proliferation," he said.

The key to the issue, he said, is diplomacy.

"[Kim Jong Il] is in control of all of North Korean society," he said. "The problem is that we have to talk to him."

The U.N.'s Resolution 1718 calls for North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons completely and irreversibly, as well as its programs of biological and chemical weapons, weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs.

The U.N. sanctions further mandate an embargo on major military hardware such as tanks, warships, combat aircraft and missiles to North Korea. To appease the Russian and Chinese delegations, however, the United States dropped its opposition to an all-out ban on conventional weapons.

The resolution also rules out the possibility of military intervention -- a point critical to Russia and China, whose opposition to the initial drafts delayed the vote.

Despite current U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan's statements that the U.S. invasion of Iraq was illegal, the U.N. secretary-general designate expressed admiration for what the United States is attempting to accomplish in Iraq.

"America with other members [of the United Nations] … have been making a great contribution to restore peace and stability … to the Iraqi people," he said. "We have a high admiration for all that the United States has been doing. … We hope that the Iraqi people will be able to enjoy genuine stability."

President Bush applauded the U.N. sanctions Saturday.

"The message today … says to the leader of North Korea that the world is united in our opposition to his nuclear weapons plans," Bush said.

Yon, the North Korean ambassador, told the Security Council that nuclear weapons are necessary to protect North Korea from the danger of war with the United States, and that the Bush administration has responded to North Korea's "patient and sincere" efforts with sanctions and blockades. He said North Korea sees continued pressure from the United States as a declaration of war.

U.S. Ambassador John Bolton said the United States has offered repeatedly to resume the six-party talks to come to a diplomatic solution, but North Korea has boycotted the talks for the past 13 months. Bolton was pleased with the speed at which the resolution was written and voted upon, and said the question now is how North Korea will respond.

Bolton said North Korea has made it clear it is isolated within the international community.

"This is not a dispute between the U.S. and North Korea," he said. "It's a dispute between North Korea and the rest of the world."

Top Stories

Top Stories

Top Stories

Top Stories

ABC News Live

ABC News Live

24/7 coverage of breaking news and live events