USIS Washington File

19 January 2000

Transcript: Holum January 12 Worldnet on Non-Proliferation Treaty

(Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty central to arms control) (9820)

Arms control "is the first line of defense" against threats of weapons
of mass destruction and the missiles that can deliver them, says John
Holum, the U.S. under secretary of state for arms control and
international security.

Speaking from Washington with reporters located in Tokyo, Beijing, and
Canberra on a Worldnet interactive program January 12, Holum said the
cornerstone for arms control efforts is the Nuclear Non-Proliferation
Treaty, which is up for review within a few months.

"The founding principle of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty is
that it is a security instrument for all of its members," he said,
noting that non-nuclear weapons states benefit most through the
assurance that their neighbors won't develop nuclear weapons.

Holum acknowledged that American credibility "unquestionably has been
damaged to some degree" because the U.S. Senate failed to ratify the
Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. But he emphasized that the Clinton
Administration "is firmly committed to the arms control agenda."

"We have had some setbacks in the failure of the Senate to ratify the
Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty," he said. "But the president has made
clear that we will not test nuclear weapons, that the moratorium will
continue; that we will continue to urge others to ratify the treaty so
it can be brought into force; and that we will also go back to work to
achieve ratification here in the United States."

In the meantime, according to Holum, the United States is pursuing
other arms control efforts, including continued strategic arms
reduction with the former Soviet Union.

Following is a transcript of the program:

(begin text)


GUEST:    John Holum, Senior Advisor to the President and
          Secretary of State for Arms Control, Non-proliferation
          and International Security Affairs

TOPIC:    U.S. Policy on Nuclear Non-Proliferation

POSTS:    Tokyo, Beijing, Canberra

HOST:     Terry Bazyluk

DATE:     January 12, 2000
TIME:     20:00 - 21:15 P.M. EST

MODERATOR: Good morning, and welcome to a special edition of
Worldnet's "Dialogue." I'm your host, Terry Bazyluk.

In October, as you know, the United States Senate failed to approve
the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, or CTBT. Despite this
setback, top U.S. officials emphasize that America remains strongly
committed to nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament.

(Begin videotape.)

ANNOUNCER: In 1996, President Bill Clinton became the first world
leader to sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. Following the Senate
vote, he vowed that efforts to bring the CTBT into force will

PRESIDENT CLINTON: Today I say again on behalf of the United States we
will continue the policy we have maintained since 1992 of not
conducting nuclear tests. I call on Russia, China, Britain, France,
and all other countries to continue to refrain from testing. I call on
nations that have not done so to sign and ratify the Comprehensive
Test Ban Treaty. And I will continue to do all I can to make that case
to the Senate. When all is said and done, I have no doubt that the
United States will ratify this treaty.

ANNOUNCER: Meanwhile, the United States is pressing ahead on all
fronts to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons. A leading means is
the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, or NPT, and its system of
strengthened safeguards.

In keeping with their disarmament obligations under the NPT, the
United States and Russia have made massive reductions in their nuclear
arsenals. Since 1988, America alone has dismantled more than 13,000
nuclear warheads. And with both countries ahead of schedule in their
START reductions, U.S. and Russian officials have begun to discuss a
START III treaty which would cut both countries' strategic arsenals
even more deeply, to 80 percent below their Cold War peaks.

But strategic reductions do not take place in a vacuum. Developments
in Asia, as in other regions, show that global non-proliferation
consensus is in constant need of tending. In recent years the world
has had to face serious concerns about North Korea's military
intentions, nuclear tests on both sides of a disputed border in South
Asia, terrorist incidents in Russia, and vulnerability of civilian
populations to chemical or biological attacks.

With the growing availability of mass weapons and missile technology,
some in the international community question whether the United States
continues to value international arms control arrangements, including
the NPT, coming up for review in April, as a key first line of

(End videotape.)

MODERATOR: We are most fortunate to have with us today a senior
government official who has been at the center of these issues since
early in President Clinton's first term. John D. Holum is the
administration's senior advisor for arms control, non-proliferation
and international security affairs. Previously he was director of the
U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency. Mr. Holum, welcome. We are
delighted to have you with us on the broadcast.

HOLUM: Thank you, Terry. It is a great pleasure to be here, and I am
delighted that we have guests from several very important countries
with us to ask questions. I have just a very few opening thoughts that
I would like to begin with.

First of all, arms control is the first line of defense for all of us
against threats of weapons of mass destruction and missiles to deliver
them. There is no other step we can take -- certainly not through more
defenses or arms races that will make us as confident in our security
as sound, effective and verifiable arms control agreements.

Second, the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which is up for review
in just a few months, this April, is the cornerstone of all of these
efforts, particularly with respect to nuclear weapons, but also with
respect to the others. This is the forerunner, the standard setter.
And we have to keep in mind that this is not a treaty that is a favor
by one group of countries to another group of countries. The founding
principle of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty is that it is a
security instrument for all of its members. The countries who are
non-nuclear weapon states primarily gain from this treaty the
assurance that their neighbors won't develop nuclear weapons, and that
there will be verification of their not doing that, so that we have
assurance that an arms race can be avoided.

A third broad point I want to make is about the United States, and it
echoes what the president just said: the United States is firmly
committed to the arms control agenda. We have had some setbacks in the
failure of the Senate to ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. But
the president has made clear that we will not test nuclear weapons,
that the moratorium will continue; that we will continue to urge
others to ratify the treaty so it can be brought into force; and that
we will also go back to work to achieve ratification here in the
United States. And meantime, of course, we are also pursuing other
arms control efforts including continued strategic arms reduction with
the Soviet Union.

With those broad opening comments, let's go to your questions.

MODERATOR: At this point I would like to welcome our participants in
Tokyo, Beijing and Canberra for the interactive portion of our
broadcast. Also, I would like to welcome our distinguished audience of
security and foreign policy specialists in Ulaan Baator, Mongolia, as
well as the rest of our viewing audience. We will be starting this
morning with our friends from Japan. So please, Tokyo, go ahead with
your first question.

Q: Good evening, nice to see you again, Mr. Holum. My name is
Takahata, former Washington bureau chief of the Mainichi Shimbun. My
immediate question is concerning the CTBT -- okay -- sorry for the
interruption. My first question is after the collapse of the
ratification at the U.S. Senate, how can you persuade countries like
India and Pakistan to sign in on the treaty, and even ratify it? And
related to this, Dr. Henry Kissinger recently wrote about sort of a
rivalry as a background in the United States politics, a rivalry
between arms control radicals against arms control realists. And my
use of the terms may not be correct. But how do you respond to that? I
ask this, because if this is true, the -- we wonder the continuity,
even after the change of administration next year, how can the effort
to arms control concerning the CTBT will continue? Thank you.

HOLUM: Thank you. Those are both very good questions. In terms of
India and Pakistan, what we and others need to continue doing -- and I
know Japan and China and Australia and many other countries have all
been involved in this effort -- is to press the case with both India
and Pakistan that ratification and joining the Comprehensive Test Ban
Treaty is in their interests, because it helps avoid any further
escalation of a potentially dangerous arms race in the region.

Now, our credibility unquestionably has been damaged to some degree.
We would much rather be saying to the Indians and Pakistanis, We have
ratified this treaty, we encourage you to do the same. Many other
countries in the world can make that point, including both Japan and
Australia. So we need to be making that argument, that it is in their
own best interests.

Now, as to Dr. Kissinger's point -- I haven't seen the article you
refer to, but I very much think that what we are dealing with in the
test ban, and in a variety of other arms control efforts, is true arms
control realism. What we always need to do, and what every country
needs to do, is make a judgment whether a treaty on balance benefits
its national security interests.

Dr. Kissinger, or no one else that I know of, is seriously advocating
that the United States should return to nuclear testing. In fact, many
people say we shouldn't test. Some who oppose the treaty say we should
not test but we should continue the moratorium. That's the unrealistic
view that says we should not test ourselves, but leave everybody else
in the world free to do so. It seems to me it's much more realistic
for all countries -- the United States included -- to take this pledge
and to avoid the dangers and risks of more nuclear tests around the

MODERATOR:  Thank you, Tokyo.

We now move to the People's Republic of China. Beijing, if you could
please go ahead with your initial question.

Q: Your excellency, I have three questions to ask. First, I think some
American policies have some negative impact on non-proliferation
policy. I know non-proliferation policies, what is an important part
of American foreign policy. But your policy on Yugoslavia -- you
bombed Yugoslavia heavy for 78 days, and then Yugoslavia is a small
country and so weak, they have no way and no strength to fight back.
So this will stimulate some small and middle-sized countries to
develop nuclear weapons, because if they don't have nuclear weapons
they cannot fight with American states, such a powerful country.
That's one question. So I think your policy on Yugoslavia has a
negative impact on nuclear non-proliferation policy. This is the first

MODERATOR: If we could just hold on a second and unpack those three
questions -- let's take them one at a time. Mr. Holum, if you could go
ahead and give a try to that first one.

HOLUM: Yes, thank you. I understand the point, the whole idea that
countries that are intent on conducting the kind of abuse against
their own people that Mr. Milosevic conducted in Yugoslavia and Kosovo
will feel more free to do so if they have weapons of mass destruction.
It seems to me that's part of the reason why all of us should want to
strengthen the non-proliferation regime, because otherwise they would
have the capability, or at least an increased capability, to abuse
their own people with impunity.

This was a rare case use of force, under extraordinary circumstances.
And I think it would be unfortunate if other countries or others
concluded that because the international community acted in
Yugoslavia, the NATO allies acted in Yugoslavia, it therefore should
justify nuclear or chemical or biological weapons in other countries.

MODERATOR: Perhaps we can come back to the two remaining questions
when we come back to Beijing.

We are going to move now to our mates in Australia. Canberra,
Australia, please, you have your first opportunity to pose a question
to Mr. Holum.

Q: Good evening. My name is David Reese (ph). I am a former Australian
ambassador for disarmament, and in that capacity have worked closely
with the United States and other members of the NPT in trying to
ensure that this treaty holds fast and works against the further
proliferation of nuclear weapons. And I think the record of the treaty
so far has been one of success. And at this stage when there are some
states that are thinking towards the development of nuclear weapons
that we try to ensure that the regime does not develop cracks and that
we find a world that is more heavily nuclear armed than at present.

The first question I would like to ask, bearing in mind that the
United States is continuing to act as if the treaty has been ratified
by the United States -- that is, it is continuing not to test nuclear
weapons -- my question is: It seems that there is a serious problem
here in trying to persuade the U.S. Congress to change its position on
the CTBT. I don't see it as just another situation in which the
Congress has taken the opportunity to take issue with President
Clinton. I say this because I noted that Senator Lugar, among other
Republicans who have taken a quite serious approach to these national
security issues, is among those who voted the treaty down. And I would
like to ask Mr. Holum what the administration sees as the task ahead
to try to persuade members of Congress and the American community at
large that it is in the United States' best interests to ratify the

HOLUM: Thank you, that's a very good and fair question. And let me
begin by referring to what Secretary Albright announced in a speech
shortly after the defeat of the treaty in the Senate. We are in the
process of setting up a task force in the administration with some
prominent outside support to help us work back through in a more
deliberate way with the Senate all of the arguments for and against
the treaty. Remember that this deliberation in the Senate was only for
roughly two weeks. It's hardly the appropriate way and the historical
way in which we have evaluated issues as important as the
Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and other arms control agreements. It
wasn't in a sufficient way. So -- but -- and a number of senators,
including senators who opposed the treaty in that vote, have expressed
their interest in having a more fulsome examination of the issues. So
one thing we need to do is engage with them on the specifics of the
treaty -- on stockpile stewardship, on verification, on our confidence
that this regime can be verified.

The other thing we need to do, more broadly I think, and it goes to
the heart of your point, is we need to step back and make the case for
arms control more general. We have assumed in the United States, as I
think many countries around the world have, that the rationale for
proceeding with arms control as a means of security is self-evident.
But I think what's happened is that that debate hasn't been continued
sufficiently. The broad public education, the broad dialogue, on the
role of arms control in our national security strategy. So as we deal
with the specifics of the treaty and get ready for another
ratification effort when it becomes opportune, we also need to restore
the broader bipartisan consensus in favor of arms control that has
marked our approach since President Eisenhower.

MODERATOR: Thank you. We now return to Tokyo for additional questions.
Tokyo, please go ahead with your next question.

Q: NHK, my name is Suha (ph) -- NHK is a public broadcasting
organization. My question refers to CTBT, with regard to critical
experiments. The United States has in the past repeatedly conducted
subcritical experiments, and this has brought resistance from India,
Pakistan and other countries that have not yet signed the CTBT. And
such subcritical experiments -- when these are continued by the United
States, this goes against the efforts of the United States for nuclear
non-proliferation -- it tends to jeopardize those efforts. NPT, for
the have-nots of nuclear weapons, it should persuade them to continue
not holding them. And for those countries that do possess nuclear
weapons should work to reducing their stockpile. And therefore by
conducting subcritical experiments, I think it's very contradictory
and paradoxical. And so having said that, the United States does it
still intend to continue conducting such subcritical experiments, or
do you think there are other alternatives?

HOLUM: Well, let me underscore that the treaty is a ban on nuclear
explosions, and it was made clear throughout the course of the
negotiations -- there was never any secret -- that the United States,
even though there is a smaller role for nuclear weapons, and the size
of the arsenal is coming down, and the number of different kinds of
weapons is being reduced, and we aren't proceeding to develop new
kinds of warheads but merely maintaining a smaller stockpile, that
stockpile stewardship activities would continue, and among those are a
lot of activities that involve taking apart weapons and examining them
to see if the part still works, testing the non-nuclear portions,
testing the high explosives, a variety of other steps -- surveillance
of the plutonium pits -- and it also includes subcritical experiments
-- not for the purpose of designing new weapons, not for the purpose
of building more weapons, but simply for the purpose of making sure
that those remain, with a smaller role and in smaller numbers, are
safe and reliable. That was understood throughout the negotiations.

There was never any attempt to conceal stockpile stewardship. It was
understood, and it is permitted under the treaty. And we do plan to
continue those. If we cut that out, I think we would have an even
harder time ultimately persuading the Senate that the test ban should
be ratified, because they are very concerned -- in fact, it was an
issue in the debate about whether we can maintain our stockpile
without testing. We can, but it requires subcritical activities.

Q: Good evening, this is Takashi Koiyama (ph) with the Japan
Industrial Journal. Sir, what do you think is the biggest obstacle to
your non-proliferation movement, and what kind of plans do you have to
overcome those obstacles?

HOLUM: That's a good question, and it goes back to an earlier point
that the Non-Proliferation Treaty has generally been I think quite
successful. We need to consider it in context. In the 1960s there were
many estimates or projections that there could be 20 or 30 nuclear
weapons states by now. The reason there aren't, even though the
technology is more widely available, and the materials are around in a
lot of reactors around the world, the reason there aren't I think
mainly is because the Non-Proliferation Treaty and this regime and the
safeguards have established a very strong global consensus against the
spread of nuclear weapons.

What concerns me -- and consider that the trend leading up to the 1995
review conference, when the treaty was made permanent, was for more
countries to join the Non-Proliferation Treaty -- Brazil and Argentina
joined, China joined, Algeria joined, South Africa, that had a nuclear
weapons program, renounced that program, joined the treaty; Ukraine,
Belarus and Kazakhstan all had nuclear weapons on their territory --
they abandoned those weapons. So now we are down to a treaty that has
just four states outside -- India, Pakistan, Israel and Cuba. So the
regime is strong.

What concerns me now is the danger to the regime that has been posed
by the tests in South Asia. It seems to me that that is the first
major recent step in the opposite direction away from this global
standard. And so a very important part of our collective effort to
reinforce the Non-Proliferation Treaty, it seems to me, has to be to
address that very real and very dangerous situation in South Asia.

Q: Hello, another question from Tokyo, Japan. My name is Yuko Fusa
(ph). I am a reporter for Nippon TV -- that's a private television
network. I understand you exert the best efforts to persuade the
American public to ratify the CTBT, and I am sure you are trying very
hard to sell the concept. But this is the year of the presidential
election in the United States, and isn't the idea of CTBT becoming
more and more unpopular within the public? And also I think there is a
concern among -- that increasingly the U.S. public doesn't like the
idea of international bodies, such as CTBT -- more and more Americans
don't like the idea of the United Nations, they don't want to pay to
the U.N., they don't like WTO. And isn't there a big undercurrent, or
perhaps a tendency for the American public to dislike the idea of
international bodies overall? And how do you -- and if you -- I am not
sure if you agree or disagree, but how do you intend to overcome such
a tendency? Thank you.

HOLUM: Actually it's -- I think it's different from that in terms of
the public. I think the political system hasn't yet embraced the same
sensible point of view that most in the public hold on some of these

I think the public recognizes that we are much more interdependent
globally than ever before -- economically in terms of communications,
in terms of technology, in terms of safety -- terrorism, drugs, crime
and non-proliferation and weapons of mass destruction. When the Senate
voted down the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, there were polls
indicating that 80 percent of the public in both parties supported an
end to nuclear testing. When we have been discussing the problem of
dues to the United Nations, large majorities of the public support a
strong United Nations and for the United States to pay its fair share.
There is interest in U.N. reform, there is interest in making sure
that our share is fair. But I think that the popular mood in the
United States remains strongly internationalist, strongly in support
of effective international institutions.

It goes back to a point I was making earlier, I suspect, and that is
that we need to articulate this. We need to have ways for the public
to express their support for these institutions more effectively. But
I think there is a base of support and good will for international
efforts in the United States. The administration, certainly the
president, are committed to realizing all of those goals, and
reflecting that will of the people.

I don't think the election year will drive us as far away from those
principles as sometimes you might see. The political debate tends to
be -- to magnify differences and tends to obscure the basic elements
of our foreign policy, but I think they will remain strong.

MODERATOR: Mr. Holum, as to the CTBT in particular, is there any basis
for the questioner's feeling in the polling data or otherwise that you
are aware of to support the notion that the public is less supportive
of the CTBT now than it has been in the past?

HOLUM: I can't answer that. I don't know if there have been more
recent polls. I think one of the things that is very important is that
the public reaction in this country didn't have much time to develop
because of the abbreviated debate, as well as the international
reaction -- has had a significant impact on senators' thinking. I
think there is a growing recognition that this is a costly step, that
it undermines what everybody agrees are very important efforts to deal
with the non-proliferation threat, or the threat of the spread of more
weapons of mass destruction.

So I think those realities need to be better understood by our
political system. And it is reflected in the fact that 62 senators,
when we were getting close to a vote, asked that it be delayed. They
didn't want to rush to a vote on this. So I think there is a lot of
support, a lot of potential support for a more deliberate and careful
review of the treaty.

MODERATOR: We'll be staying with Tokyo now for another question.
Tokyo, please go ahead.

Q:  (Japanese not translated.)

MODERATOR: Okay, while we wait to get that translation problem ironed
out we are going to move to Beijing for a question. Please Beijing, go
ahead with your next question. (Technical difficulties.)

Okay, Mr. Holum, a number of the questions seem to have concentrated
on the ability of the United States to be persuasive to other
countries in terms of its non-proliferation agenda, given what has
happened on the CTBT vote. What do you think of the ability of the
United States to continue working on these objectives, for example
with our good friends and allies in Japan -- can we continue working
with the Japanese on important objectives leading to the NPT review
conference in April? And can you give examples of things we can be
working with our friends on as we try and get these things done?

HOLUM: Well, yes. In fact we have a delegation going to Japan later
this month to focus on a number of joint arms control and
non-proliferation initiatives, and I plan to travel to Japan in March
to follow up on those efforts to corroborate not only in moving toward
a successful NPT review conference in April, but also to consider some
of the technologies and other ways that we can advance the science and
the methodology of arms control and non-proliferation.

I hope that countries will see the CTBT as an isolated instance of an
unsuccessful ratification effort, or a stalled ratification effort,
rather than a turning away from our fundamental commitment to these
objectives. We are in a whole range of ares working to continue the
process. We are trying to strengthen the Biological Weapons
Convention. We are working closely with Japan, and Australia and China
and a number of other countries in Geneva in a new round of the ad hoc
group on the Biological Weapons Convention -- give that treaty some
enforceability. We hope we can get started in the Conference on
Disarmament on a negotiation at long last of a fissile material
cut-off treaty. The United States has been showing a great deal of
flexibility there in agreeing to a process on nuclear disarmament and
on outer space, in order to try to get the log jam broken in the
Conference on Disarmament. We are, as I have indicated, engaged in
efforts to continue the START process. Presidents Clinton and Yeltsin
last June in Cologne agreed that we would begin discussions at high
levels on START III, even though START II is not yet in force, as well
as discussions on the ABM Treaty -- and those processes have been

In the meantime, the actual on-the-ground process of nuclear
disarmament is continuing apace. More than 13,000 individual weapons
have been destroyed here in the United States from the peak of the
Cold War. We destroyed 80 percent of our tactical nuclear weapons. We
destroyed about 60 percent of all the nuclear weapons that were ever
in the stockpile. And we are working to get down to the delivery
systems with Russia down to 80 percent below their Cold War peak. So
there is a lot of disarmament going on, and the CTBT problem should be
seen in that context.

MODERATOR: We'll be moving back now to the People's Republic of China
for a block of questions. Beijing, please go ahead with your next set
of questions. (Technical difficulties.) Beijing, if you could please
repeat your question a little more loudly, and translate it please.
(Technical difficulties.) Okay, we seem to have lost our line with
Beijing. We are going to move now to Canberra, Australia. Canberra,
please go ahead with your next question.

Q: Mr. Holum, I think you've already sketched out something of the
case that the United States will put forward in the NPT review
conference for its contribution to the so-called bargain under Article
6 in which nuclear weapon states make their contribution towards
reduction in the number of nuclear weapons, moving eventually to
elimination. I think it's clear that this review conference is going
to be an extremely difficult one because of what has happened on the
CTBT, and I would like you to give us some assessment of the way in
which you see the issues playing out in this conference.

HOLUM: Yes, thank you. I think the important thing to realize is that
there are three broad purposes to the Non-Proliferation Treaty. One is
the one you allude to, Article 6, and the commitment of the nuclear
weapon states to continue the process of disarmament. Another is
peaceful nuclear cooperation. And a third, and I think fundamental
one, is the non-proliferation benefits, preventing the spread to more

We will come to the NPT review conference -- and I think other nuclear
weapons states will be in the same position -- prepared to talk about
what has been done in nuclear disarmament under Article 6, and what
remains to be done. The NPT is fundamentally important because it is
the means by which the rest of the international community has access
to calling the nuclear weapons states to account for what we have
accomplished and what remains to be done. We expect to have a debate
on that subject and to be taken to task, and the NPT is an appropriate
place to do that.

But we also think the conference needs to be balanced, that we need to
have a fair and full discussion of peaceful nuclear cooperation. We
need to have a full discussion of the non-proliferation aspects of the
treaty. And what remains to be done to broaden the scope of the treaty
and to deal with violations that have occurred, or potential
violations in Iraq, and potentially in the past in North Korea, as
well as dealing with the problem in South Asia. So we are not
objecting to answering on the whole area of nuclear disarmament. It's
an appropriate area for discussion. What we are looking for, and what
I hope all countries will be prepared to do, is have a balanced
conference in which all of the issues are fully ventilated.

Q: Can I ask a follow-up question on the review conference? I
understand that during the preparatory committee meetings of the NPT
the problem of the Middle East, the fact that Israel is outside the
treaty, was one of the issues that was complicating attempts to find
ways forward and consensus. Does the U.S. have views on how this issue
can be dealt with?

HOLUM: Well, again, I think it's a matter of balance that will be
discussed in the committee that deals with the non-proliferation
aspects of the treaty. We have a resolution from the 1995 review
conference dealing with the Middle East. The United States sponsored
it. And I am sure there will be discussions of the Middle East issue
in the review conference. But it shouldn't be the exclusion of other
more recent and very serious non-proliferation concerns, including in
particular the tests in South Asia, as well as the continuing
compliance problem in Iraq and other issues. So again, the conference
will unquestionably take up Middle East non-proliferation questions.
We should do that without neglecting other non-proliferation concerns.

Q: I also wanted to ask a question about the balance in U.S. policy
between the multilateral approach to proliferation issues, as we have
through the NPT, and its bilateral approach to problems with specific
states. And I have in mind for example countries like North Korea,
Iraq and Iran -- Iran, although like North Korea remembers that the
NPT has had activities that have been questioned. And I wonder whether
you could just talk a little about the U.S. attempt to deal with these
problems bilaterally as well as multilaterally.

HOLUM: Yes. I think both approaches are necessary. What we found
through the NPT is that the basic global norm, the basic global
standard and compliance regime under the NPT are sufficient for nearly
all countries. Most countries abide by their obligations, sign up to
the treaty and proceed, secure in the knowledge that it is preventing
an arms race and enhancing their security. A number of countries
either in the treaty or outside the treaty don't follow the rules, and
for those it takes I think a carefully tailored effort to deal with
each case.

In the case of Iran -- as you noted, Iran is a member of the NPT, but
we are not convinced, not satisfied that Iran is living up to its
obligations. What we are doing is invoking the NPT, both in the
context of Iran's behavior, but also in the context of countries who
may assist Iran in developing a nuclear capability.

An important element of the NPT is that it prohibits its members not
only from -- if they are non-nuclear, from developing nuclear weapons,
but from assisting any other country to develop nuclear weapons. So we
invoke in the case of countries that have been engaged in nuclear
supply to India and Pakistan for example, or to Iran, to cut off those
kinds of transactions under the NPT obligation.

In the case of North Korea, the same thing is true, and in addition we
are engaged with a number of other countries, including Japan and
including South Korea, in a very deliberate effort to walk back from
the nuclear capability that North Korea had developed.

So I think you need the overall legal standard and rule and process of
the treaty, but for problem cases, South Asia as well, you need a
carefully tailored strategy, whether bilateral or regional, to address
the most difficult problems. That's where we are. And thankfully the
number of exceptions to the treaty regime is limited, but they are all
very serious.

Q: Can I now ask a question about India and Pakistan? Both of these
states have now tested, and in a sense are nuclear weapon states. How
is this accommodated within the NPT regime? Is there a way of perhaps
bringing Pakistan and India into the regime? And a follow-up question
to that is I understand President Clinton is intending to visit India
in March, and obviously the CTBT will be one of the issues to be
discussed there. If he were able to make progress on this issue with
the Indians, do you think that would be a constructive development for
attitudes within Congress to the United States ratification of the

HOLUM: On the question of India and Pakistan becoming formally nuclear
weapon states under the NPT, it's not possible under the treaty -- we
don't support it. There is a reality on the ground in India and
Pakistan -- we are not prepared, and I don't think the members of the
NPT would accept the idea that that should be formalized, recognized
and accepted in the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. The treaty began
from the proposition that there were five nuclear weapon states who
undertook to negotiate ultimately toward nuclear disarmament. It
doesn't accept that there should be additional nuclear weapon states.
The problem shouldn't get any worse. And so I think it would be very
hard -- in our view impossible -- under the NPT to say we are going to
accommodate ourselves legally to this circumstance. We believe that
India and Pakistan should become non-nuclear weapon states under the

We also recognize that that's not something that is likely to happen
in the near term. So what we have been engaged in, in an effort led by
Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott, is an effort to prevent the
problem from getting worse, to prevent more nuclear tests, to prevent
production of more fissile material, to deal with the export problem,
to deal with the very critical issue of how they will manage their
nuclear capability in terms of deploying forces -- and also to deal
with the crucial issue that divides them, that of Kashmir.

So there has been a diplomatic effort underway. The CTBT signature
would be an important part of that, something the president will
certainly place a heavy emphasis on both in the time leading up to his
trip and then when he does go to India.

The effect on U.S. Senate ratification I think would be marginal, but
I do think the prospect for ratification would be improved over time
very significantly if something good internationally happens, and that
is more and more countries join the treaty and ratify the treaty.
There are 44 states, as you know, who are necessary members for the
treaty to enter into force. The United States is one of them, India is
another, Pakistan is another, North Korea is another. We need to
continue pursuing those ratifications. And as those mount up I think
the Senate would be more inclined to look at this issue again.

Q: While the NPT is the centerpiece of the structure of arms control
treaties that contribute towards non-proliferation of nuclear weapons,
there are other treaties, and treaties under proposal that would
reinforce what the NPT tries to achieve. And of course the CTBT is one
of these. Another proposal is the fissile material cut-off convention
which is being proposed. Does the United States see that it is going
to be possible to make progress on this treaty in the year ahead?

HOLUM: Well, I certainly hope so. There have been some very diligent
efforts in the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva to come up with a
work plan that will satisfy everybody's interests in specific issue
areas. And we have, as I said earlier, given some ground in order to
try to make that happen. The CD reconvenes, the Conference on
Disarmament reconvenes in a couple of weeks, and I guess we'll find
out then whether the countries come with sufficient flexibility to
move forward.

It's worrisome to me that the Conference on Disarmament, which has
been such an effective negotiating body in bringing in years past the
NPT into reality, but also more recently the Chemical Weapons
Convention and of course the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. This is a
negotiating body. It has serious ambassadors and serious members who
want to move the process forward. It has become bogged down, it seems
to me, in the recently by linkages, by countries saying, We can't move
forward on this timely effort, such as the fissile material cut-off,
unless we move forward on something else. The logical consequence of
that kind of linkage is that we won't get anywhere on anything. And
that's a shame for the Conference on Disarmament, because it undercuts
the one really effective negotiating forum to bring about global
agreements that we have in the world. And I think a lot of countries,
if we can't move on the fissile material cut-off treaty, will begin to
reassess is the Conference on Disarmament really a viable institution.
Some countries have pulled out their dedicated ambassadors to the
Conference on Disarmament, because they don't think they can justify
the expense and the effort if the CD is just sitting around.

So I think it's very important for the Conference on Disarmament
itself, as well as the arms control and non-proliferation cause, for
the CD to get back to work when it meets again later this month.

MODERATOR: Mr. Holum, let me ask a follow-up question if I might on
the relationship between the United States' Article 6 obligations and
its priorities it's been pushing, such as the fissile material cut-off
treaty. Do you see any inconsistency between countries complaining
that the United States isn't doing enough under Article 6, and at the
same time dragging their heels on the fissile material cut-off treaty?

HOLUM: There has been a lot of talk, in the United Nations First
Committee for example, about a new agenda. A number of countries are
interested in racking up a new set of obligations or ambitions that we
should try to achieve. It seems to me what we need is a renewed
agenda, that rather than start coming up with additional aspirations
we ought to deal with the issues that have already come due. Fissile
material cut-off is a perfectly good example -- it was considered at
the 1995 review conference for the NPT, it has been endorsed by the
United Nations General Assembly, and it's also a logical next step in
global nuclear arms control, because what it does is cut off the
production of any more of the basic ingredients for nuclear weapons.
It's hard to imagine having a credible program to continue reducing
nuclear weapons around the world if we are still producing the
ingredients for nuclear weapons. The United States and Russia are
actively engaged in efforts to dispose of the huge overhang of all
this material that grew up during the Cold War. It seems to me that
the international community has a strong interest in a
nondiscriminatory regime applied across the board that says nobody
will produce any more of this stuff. That, it seems to me, a logical
next step. And if we are complaining about not getting anywhere in
Article 6, why don't we do what's logical and proceed with that
important agreement?

MODERATOR: Okay, Beijing has been waiting patiently. Let us go now to
Beijing for your next set of questions.

Q: I have another question to ask. I know the United States now is
developing TMD -- (inaudible) -- building TMDs to strike for absolute
security. I think America has the most powerful nuclear weapons in the
world. If you build NMD and TMD successfully, what makes the United
States safer than any other country in the world, and it will make
countries worried about their own security or stimulate other
countries to develop more advanced offensive weapons. I think it will
race -- the arms race in the world -- I think it's a vicious cycle.
And also, America is a very rich country. You have enough money to
build NMD and TMD. Other countries are not so rich but may have a
simple way to this choice, or damage your NMD and TMD control systems.
So is it worth spending so much money on building NMD and TMD to go
for absolute security? I think the United States should consider it
again. And I think the best way in this world -- one country safe
cannot -- it is not a good thing.

Now, all countries in the world are safe to make everyone safe. So I
think the best way to strive for absolute safety is to get rid of all
destructive weapons in the world. That's my question.

HOLUM: I agree with you that the elimination of weapons, the
prevention of weapons, is far more satisfactory than building more.
And in fact that's what I -- the point I made at the very beginning of
the broadcast. Our approach on the spread of weapons of mass
destruction begins with the reliance on prevention. That is why we are
spending so much effort in dealing with the North Korea problem, in
dealing with the Iran problem, in trying to prevent those threats from
emerging. We don't succeed completely in doing that. If we had
succeeded completely, if these threats had not emerged, then we
wouldn't be considering a national missile defense now. Does that mean
that the preventative efforts have failed completely? No. In fact, it
has limited the threat. It has made the defense aspect more plausible.

What's the second thing we rely on if prevention doesn't entirely
succeed? Deterrence. Any country that launches an attack on the United
States knows -- must know that it would suffer overwhelming damage in
return. So we haven't abandoned deterrence or prevention as a means of
dealing with weapons of mass destruction. But there is reasonable
basis for believing that some countries -- isolated, threatening
countries like North Korea -- would not be swayed by the traditional
elements of deterrence. And that's what gives rise to the concern
about building a national missile defense.

Now, the national missile defense is not aimed at any other countries,
it is not aimed at Russia, it is not aimed at China. It is designed to
be a very small system that would protect against a very limited
attack with unsophisticated weapons from a state like North Korea. And
the concern here is not that we expect North Korea to launch an
attack, but we have a alliance relationship with South Korea. We don't
want to be put in a position where we have to either abandon our
alliance relationship with South Korea or have a major city in the
United States threatened with a weapon of mass destruction. And that's
the kind of question that I think we can and should try to avoid by
discussing, considering a limited national missile defense.

MODERATOR:  Beijing, we go do you now for one more question please.

Q: Good morning from Beijing, Your Excellency. My question refers to
the bilateral talks between the United States and China on arms
control. We have already held several rounds of talks, and we have
achieved several achievements and progress. But after the bombing of
the embassy the talks were suspended. But so far, as you know, they
haven't started again. But in the media they know the leader of PLA
will go to visit the United States very soon. Does that mean the
bilateral talks between the U.S. and China on the arms control area
will resume very soon as well?

HOLUM: Well, I would like very much for those talks to resume. I have,
as you indicated, been involved in several rounds of discussions. I
think they have been very helpful in explaining -- helping each side
understand the perspectives of the other. We don't expect any major
agreements to come out of these discussions. But, for example, they
give us an opportunity to talk about things like TMD and NMD, as well
as strategic doctrine, non-proliferation, a wide range of issues. I
found the discussions in the past to be very helpful.

As you have indicated, they have been suspended since the unfortunate,
tragic accident of the bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Yugoslavia.
We have had a number of discussions back and forth led by Tom
Pickering, our undersecretary for political affairs; by the legal
advisor of the State Department, David Andrews. I am hopeful that that
process is close enough to resolution so we can soon resume our arms
control and non-proliferation dialogue. That has not yet been
approved. The military-to-military dialogue is beginning to be back on
track, but as of this date I can't tell you that we have agreement to
proceed. The door from our standpoint is wide open. We are prepared to
proceed. It is up to the authorities in Beijing to decide whether that
can happen.

MODERATOR: We are at the end of the hour, but I am told that we have
just a couple of more questions that we are going to provide an
opportunity to answer. So, Tokyo, if you could please quickly start us
off on our final round of questions. And it would be helpful if you
could keep questions short, and if we could have an English-language
question at this point, that would be very helpful as well. Tokyo, go

Q: Japan Institute of International Affairs, my name is Koiyama (ph).
I will try to read my question to Mr. Holum. What kind of role should
the United Nations Security Council play in the 21st century? It seems
that the United Nations Security Council needs to review its role and
new course -- (inaudible) -- in order to meet globalization of
international security systems. Thank you.

HOLUM: Thank you. I don't know if you are familiar with the writing
and the ideas that the former UNSCOM head Richard Butler has raised in
this area. He is very concerned that the U.N. Security Council doesn't
have the ability to act decisively when we are confronted with
defiance such as in Iraq of U.N. Security Council resolutions.

I don't have any quick fixes to this -- it is a very complicated
problem. Broadly speaking, it is a fundamental reality that virtually
all of the agreements -- the Chemical Weapons Convention, the Nuclear
Non-Proliferation Treaty, the Biological Weapons Convention -- all of
these agreements depend in the final analysis on the United Nations
for enforcement. They are not self-executing. There are limited
sanctions under the Chemical Weapons Convention that the members can
apply -- they can deny access to the benefits of the treaty to
countries that are found in violation. But for true enforcement it
takes U.N. Security Council action. It takes a global response. And I
think we have to look very carefully at some of the ideas Ambassador
Butler has raised, and contemplate how the U.N. Security Council can
be more effective.

These are threats to all of us, and the United Nations is our
principal instrument for enforcing the will of the international
community against countries that defy regimes and threaten the safety
of all of us. So we need to make sure that the Security Council has
the resources and the will to respond effectively. That's going to
take a great deal of hard work by all the member countries.

MODERATOR: Beijing, it's your turn once more. If you could please pose
the next question for Mr. Holum.

Q: My question is simple: What is the prospect of revision of ABM or
withdrawal if it is not revised? Bear in mind that the consequences
will be disastrous.

HOLUM: We very strongly believe that the ABM Treaty is the cornerstone
of strategic stability. There is an obvious connection between offense
and defense, and the assurance that we won't be building a large
national missile defense is what permits the confident reduction of
offensive strategic forces. So I think the ABM Treaty remains very
important. And my job, and the job of the Department of State, is to
avoid having the president be put in a position later this year of
choosing between defending the country against what we see as very
real emerging threats and keeping the protections of the ABM Treaty.

Now, the ABM system, the limited national missile defense system that
we are talking about, that we are evaluating, would not pose any
threat to Russia's strategic forces. That's an objective reality about
this system. It's a very limited system with limited capabilities,
with a limited number of interceptors and radars. That should make it
possible to amend the ABM Treaty to accommodate this kind of defense.
We have amended the ABM Treaty before. We have an amendment that has
been agreed to allow to make clear that very capable theater missile
defenses are permitted under the treaty. They were never precluded,
but the dividing line wasn't clearly spelled out. That has now been

On national missile defense, our basic message is the best way to
protect the treaty which was negotiated in 1972 is to make clear that
it is not frozen in time, but that it's sufficiently flexible to
preserve its benefits but also to take into account changes in the
world situation and in the danger that one contemplated when the
treaty was initially negotiated. I think it's possible to do that.
Whether we can do it, whether we will do it, remains to be seen and
depends very much on the negotiations that we'll have between the
United States and Russia.

MODERATOR: We return now to Canberra for the next question. Canberra,
please go ahead.

Q: Mr. Holum, I would like to return again to the fissile material
cut-off proposals. Pending the negotiation of such a treaty, one of
the initiatives which Australia has come up with is to propose that
both India and Pakistan join those nuclear weapon states which have
voluntarily already ceased production of such material. Has the United
States taken a position on this issue, and if not would you care to
comment on the approach that you think might be taken?

HOLUM: Yes, we think that's a good idea, and we in fact have argued
for the countries of South Asia for India and Pakistan to declare
along with us that there has been a -- were no longer producing
fissile material. They haven't been prepared to pursue that. As you
may know, India and Pakistan have been reluctant in the past to
negotiate on the fissile material cut-off in Geneva. This is a very
complex problem, because each one fears that the other has an
advantage. And how do you get to a point where you can be -- have both
countries satisfied?

For the same reason that it's important globally -- that is, that it
can prevent an uncontrolled arms race, the fissile material cut-off
idea is especially important in South Asia where the potential
competition is at a very early stage. So we support this initiative,
and have been doing our best to advance it.

MODERATOR: Tokyo, you're up next. Please pose your next question for
Mr. Holum. My name is Takahata. The first question -- in case you
didn't get my name, I'm the former Washington bureau chief of the
Mainichi Shimbun, Japan. My quick question is the follow-up of the ABM
and NMD issue. The big -- I understand your logic and you are trying
to persuade the Russians. But the big problem is the Russians or even
the Chinese people feel quite differently. One of the Anglo-Saxon
proverbs say don't mend it until it's broken, and so before the time
limit next summer are you still going to go unilaterally with the
amending of the ABM Treaty? Thank you.

HOLUM: I can understand the reason why you would like me to make a
statement one way or the other, but my principal responsibility is to
avoid that choice. What I want to do, and what I want to make every
effort to accomplish, is to give the president, through the negotiated
route, the flexibility to make a decision without endangering the ABM
Treaty, to make possible a limited first phase national missile
defense within the treaty. I don't want to speculate on what the
president's decision will be. I don't know what the president's
decision will be. What I am focused most intently on is by the time
the decision is due, having the United States and Russia I think
believe -- achieve their common interests in preserving the treaty
while accommodating it to new security threats. So I respectfully am
unwilling to speculate on what the outcome will be. I hope we can
avoid that very difficult choice for the president.

MODERATOR: Beijing, we have time for just one more question. We are
down to about three or four minutes in this show. So, Beijing, if you
could please pose one short question.

Q: One question on recently we know that -- (inaudible) -- report that
if Americans deploy a limited NMD that the ABM Treaty should be
modified. So my question -- some Russian officials make a statement
that if Americans do this they (were under law to ?) ratify the START
II. So my question is how do Americans deal with this dilemma? Thank

HOLUM: You are correct that the Russians have linked not only START
ratification to the viability of the ABM Treaty, but also their
original resolution of ratification of the START I treaty. It
underscores the reality that we both believe in, that the ABM Treaty
is important -- very important to the process of reducing effective
strategic arms. That's one of the factors the president will consider
when he approaches a question on deployment next summer. There are
four basic elements of that decision: one is cost; one is threat; one
is the technical feasibility of the treaty; and the fourth is the
consideration of the strategic and security environment which includes
the impact on arms control. Again, I don't want to prejudge what the
president's decision will be. I don't know what it will be. I think
it's most important for us to avoid a stark choice between preserving
the treaty and defending the people of America.

MODERATOR: Mr. Holum, in about 30 seconds or less, do you have any
closing thoughts?

HOLUM: Well, first of all, I want to thank our participants in Beijing
and Tokyo and Canberra for some really well-thought-out and well --
very relevant questions. This has been from my perspective a very
important and valuable exchange, and I really value the thinking that
has gone into the participation around the world.

I just want to underscore again that all three of our countries have a
vital interest in a successful NPT review conference in April, and we
plan to work very hard with each country to achieve that result. Thank

MODERATOR: Well, I am afraid that now we truly have run out of time,
even on this extended basis. I'd like to thank first of all our
distinguished guest here in the studio, John Holum, who is the
president's senior advisor and senior advisor to the secretary of
State for arms control, non-proliferation and international security
affairs. We very much appreciate your being here.

I'd also like to thank all of our participants from Tokyo, Beijing and
Canberra for your thoughtful questions, as well as our viewers in
Ulaan Baator and all around the world. From Washington, I'm Terry
Bazyluk. From everywhere here in Studio 48, thanks for watching. We
hope to see you next time for another edition of Worldnet's

(end transcript)

(Distributed by the Office of International Information Programs, U.S.
Department of State)