Oct. 15, 2006 — -- Appearing on "This Week with George Stephanopoulos," John Bolton, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said, "There is a problem on the Korean peninsula; it's name is North Korea."
On Saturday, the U.N. Security Council voted 15-0 to impose sanctions against the rogue Asian nation in the wake of their latest round of prohibited nuclear tests. The sanctions are aimed primarily at preventing any import or export of weapons of mass destruction, but rely on the cooperation of all nations, including communist China, which shares an 880-mile border with North Korea and remains its closest ally.
In the wake of the weekend vote, it appeared that China would not fully participate in the inspection of goods required to fully enforce the U.N.'s sanctions.
"China voted in favor of that provision," Bolton insisted on "This Week."
China bears a "heavy responsibility here. … This means China itself now has an obligation to make sure that it complies with the resolution," Bolton said. "We'll see what act comes out of Beijing."
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice travels to China next week to continue the diplomatic effort aimed at enforcing the sanctions, including those essential inspections.
"I think we need to wait to [see] what China's more definitive response to the resolution is," Bolton said of that forthcoming trip. "The fact that the Security Council unanimously condemned the North Korean test … is going to have an impact."
Bolton said that if North Korea truly wanted to be safe, "They should come back to the six-party talks."
"At this point, the ball is in Pyongyang's court," referring to North Korea's capital.
The United States has thus far refused to engage North Korea in direct, bilateral negotiations. But, Bolton stressed, "We've had very extensive diplomatic activity this week."
"President Bush was on the phone repeatedly … we were very active on all levels of our diplomacy and that's going to continue," he said.
Bolton brushed back any thoughts of military action if North Korea defies the latest round of sanctions.
"What the president has said repeatedly is that he seeks a peaceful and diplomatic solution to the problem that North Korea presents," Bolton said. "He's going to do what he can through economic and political pressure to isolate North Korea."
Stephanopoulos' entire interview with Bolton can be viewed at "This Week's" Web page at www.abcnews.com.