Congressional Record: June 4, 2003 (House)
Page H4968-H4971

                     RESULTS OF TRIP TO NORTH KOREA

Mr. WELDON of Pennsylvania. [...]					 
  Mr. Speaker, the real and primary purpose of my special order tonight 
was to focus on a trip that I just led, we got back yesterday, from 
North Korea, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
  Mr. Speaker, no one from America in an elected capacity had been to 
Pyongyang, North Korea, for the past 6 years, and in fact the only 
contact we have had with the leadership of DPRK has been through our 
State Department diplomats. We had a team there almost a year ago, or 
last fall, actually, and we had our Assistant Secretary of State, 
Secretary Kelly, meet in Beijing to have further discussions with North 
  About a year ago, Mr. Speaker, I decided it was important that the 
Congress attempt to understand what was happening inside of DPRK, 
because of the tensions building between North and South Korea. I 
wanted to make sure we did not end up in another conflict. So I set out 
to take a delegation of 13 of our colleagues into Pyongyang last May.
  We sat in Beijing and we sat in Seoul for 4 days waiting for the 
visas to be approved. They never came. The reason given by the North 
Korean government was that President Bush had referred to North Korea 
as a part of the axis of evil, and, therefore, they did not think it 
right we should be allowed admittance to their country.
  But, Mr. Speaker, I persevered, and throughout the last 12 months 
traveled up to the UN on at least two occasions, met with the 
Ambassador for the DPRK mission at the UN, Ambassador Han, the only 
representative of North Korea allowed in America, and I talked to him 
about taking a delegation in.
  Every time I met with him, as I have done in all of my contacts, I 
made sure I talked to the folks at the White House, the National 
Security Council and the State Department, so I kept them informed.
  I used seven or eight individuals and groups that have contacts 
inside of North Korea to convey the message that it was more important 
for us to bring in a delegation of non-diplomats. There was an added 
sense of urgency because in the late summer-early fall our intelligence 
community gave the evidence to the State Department that in fact North 
Korea had an active nuclear weapons program under way, which was a 
clear violation of the 1994 agreed upon framework that was negotiated 
in the Clinton administration.
  So, for all of those reasons I kept the pressure on to take a group 
into Pyongyang to meet with the officials of that country, not as 
diplomats, not as representatives of the President, not as 
representatives of the State Department, but as elected officials from 
our country, to put a face on the American people and to tell the 
people of North Korea that none of us want war, none of us want 
  Approximately 10 days ago, Mr. Speaker, at the 11th hour, after I had 
planned a trip to go to Moscow and then on into North Korea, we were 
initially told the visas were not coming forward. Then the day after we 
canceled that trip I got a call from the New York embassy or New York 
office of the mission at the United Nations and Ambassador Han said 
Congressman Weldon, Pyongyang has invited you to bring your delegation 
into my country.
  Very quickly we reassembled a team, three Democrats and three 
Republicans, and traveled to Pyongyang on a naval aircraft. The Navy 
did a fantastic job in providing support to us. We left on a Wednesday 
evening and flew all night. The trip took us about 30 hours, with the 
fuel stops that we had to make in the C-9 we were traveling in, and we 
arrived into Pyongyang, North Korea, from a stop in Japan, at 
approximately 9:30 a.m. last Friday.
  For 3 days, we were hosted by the leadership of the Ministry of 
Foreign Affairs of the DPRK regime.
  Mr. Speaker, I would say at the outset that we let it be known going 
in we were not going in to represent the President of the United 
States, nor the State Department. We were not going in to do any 
negotiations. We were simply going in to put a face on America so that 
the leadership of DPRK that has been so outrageously nasty within their 
country toward America and the American people should see who we are, 
not as diplomats, but as ordinary people.
  The three Democrats and the three Republicans who went to Pyongyang 
made it be known that we were not going to negotiate because that is 
not our position, and in fact we were going in supporting the position 
of President Bush and Secretary Powell; that a multilateral approach to 
dealing with North Korea in the end had to be the vehicle, the way to 
get this issue of this nuclear threat under control.
  Our goal was to put the human face on, and we did. In fact, during 
the 3 days that we were in Pyongyang, North Korea, it was an 
unbelievable experience. I had asked in advance, Mr. Speaker, to visit 
10 sites so that we would not just be taken where they wanted us to go, 
but rather we would pick the type of sites that we would like to see. 
In fact, half of those sites they agreed to and we visited.
  One was a school, a school with 1,800 children from the age of 3 
years to 18 years. It was an impressive sight, a model school for the 
country. But it gave us an understanding of the support of the DPRK 
government to educate their children.
  The second was the Pyongyang Computer Center, one of three buildings 
in the downtown city area that are used to develop North Korea's 
technology and information and the use of computers.
  We had to visit a film studio because the leader of North Korea, Kim 
Chong-Il, has a major interest in producing video productions, actually 
movies. He does not import any from the West for his people because 
society in North Korea is totally closed. So I thought it would be 
relevant to visit what I had heard to be one of the largest studio 
complexes outside of Hollywood and Orlando, Florida. We visited that 
site where there are 1,500 employees.
  Mr. Speaker, to say the least, it was unbelievable. We were driven 
through the back lot. I have been through the back lot of Universal 
Studios, and I can tell you, that this rivaled that back lot. There 
were scenes for movies that could be shot about Japan, about China, 
about Korea, about Europe, about the West. All of these sets were 
established so that North Korea each year can produce between 20 and 25 
feature lengths films that are shown in the movie houses of North 
Korea, which are all oriented toward the propaganda message and the 
message of the North Korean leadership. So we visited that facility.
  We had a shopping visit to interact with the ordinary people that 
were in the city. We visited restaurants.
  Mr. Speaker, on the last day we were there, we were scheduled to meet 
with the Minister of Trade, but I asked the delegation the night before 
if they wanted to do that meeting, and they said not really. So I told 
the representative who handles U.S. issues for the Ministry of Foreign 
Affairs that we did not want to go to the meeting with the Minister of 
Trade, but instead on Sunday morning we wanted to go to church.
  They agreed. They picked us up at our hotel at 9:45 in the morning, 
and six Members of Congress went to church in a Protestant church on a 
hill in North Korea, in the middle of this closed society, where there 
were no pictures of Kim Chong-Il or Kim Il-Song, his father, but rather 
were crosses, and with 300 people we worshipped in a Protestant church, 
much like churches all over America do every Sunday morning. So we had 
a good glimpse of this closed society.
  Let me say, Mr. Speaker, I have visited the Soviet Union when it was 
communist many times and I visited China under its communist system. 
North Korea makes those two societies in their worst days of communism 
look like an open society. It is an absolutely closed society to the 
outside world, no access to outside media, no access to newspapers, 
totally closed. In fact, limitation on people traveling in is also 
  But, Mr. Speaker, we are in a tense situation right now, because 
North Korea has admitted publicly in our meetings that we held that 
they have nuclear weapons today. They admitted that they are 
reprocessing the 8,000 nuclear rods from their nuclear power plants and 
they admitted that that reprocessed nuclear weapons grade fuel will be 
used to build more nuclear weapons.
  Mr. Speaker, the fact is that if North Korea uses the fuel from those 
8,000 rods, they will have the ability within a year to build four to 
six additional nuclear weapons. That is unacceptable, Mr. Speaker, and 
that is why we have to aggressively at this point in time move in to 
find a common way to solve the nuclear crisis that exists between North 
Korea and the rest of the world.
  The thing I wanted to mention to our colleagues, Mr. Speaker, is 
after meeting with the leadership, after meeting with the foreign 
minister, the speaker of their parliament called the Supreme People's 
Assembly and the vice foreign minister, I came away convinced that we 
in fact can find a way to get the North Koreans to give up their 
nuclear capability.
  Tomorrow morning I will talk to Secretary Powell on the phone, and I 
will relay to him the exact details of what I think could become the 
basis for his experts and professionals to conduct negotiations within 
the context that the President and the Secretary of State have defined 
to allow us to move away from the brink of nuclear war.
  Mr. Speaker, the alternative is unacceptable. The alternative would 
be for North Korea to continue to develop nuclear weapons. If we try an 
economic embargo, they would likely offer to sell their nuclear weapons 
to other nations, rogue groups, terrorist organizations. That is 
  Regime change by means of war I think is unacceptable, at least until 
we make every possible effort to find a way to convince the North 
Koreans, as President Putin and Chinese President Hu Jintao have said, 
to have them remove nuclear weapons from the Korean Peninsula.
  Mr. Speaker, I would like to include the trip report, and I would 
like to thank our congressional delegation Members, the gentleman from 
Texas (Mr. Ortiz), who was my co-chair; the gentleman from Texas (Mr. 
Reyes); the gentleman from New York (Mr. Engel); the gentleman from 
South Carolina (Mr. Wilson); the gentleman from Florida (Mr. Miller). 
They were a dynamic team, and together we have now brought back to our 
colleagues the knowledge and a fuller understanding of this nation that 
has been so secretive.
  But more importantly, we bring back to America the possibility that 
we can resolve this nuclear crisis on the Korean Peninsula through 
peaceful discussions and through peaceful resolution. Hopefully, Mr. 
Speaker, under the leadership of our great President and our Secretary 
of State and Condoleezza Rice, our security adviser, we will in fact 
this year be able to solve this very difficult challenge in a peaceful 
  The material referred to earlier is as follows:

                    KOREA (ROK), MAY 30-JUNE 2, 2003


                            North Korea DPRK

       The delegation was the largest congressional delegation to 
     visit the DPRK and the first CODEL to visit the DPRK in five 
     years. The visit occurred during a period of escalating 
     tensions between the DPRK, the United States, and nations of 
     the region resulting from the DPRK October, 2002, admission 
     of its nuclear weapons-related uranium enrichment program. 
     Subsequent DPRK withdrawal from the Nuclear Nonproliferation 
     Treaty (NPT); confirmation of its possession of nuclear 
     weapons; expelling of IAEA inspectors; declared intentions to 
     reprocess its spent fuel; continued sales of missiles and 
     technology to terrorist nations; and allegations of nation-
     sponsored drug trafficking all served to further raise 
     tensions between the DPRK and the international community.
       The delegation visit was the culmination of over a year-
     long effort by Representative Weldon to gain entry into the 
     DPRK for the purpose of engaging senior DPRK officials in 
     informal discussions, free of the formality of traditional 
     posturing and imposed pressures of negotiation objectives, to 
     share mutual perspectives on the major political, military, 
     and economic issues.
       The resulting visit achieved its purpose by providing the 
     Members an opportunity to engage senior DPRK officials 
     (attachment 2) in lengthy, candid, unstructured, and often 
     pointed, yet respectful, discussions, in several venues 
     covering the complete range of outstanding issues. While 
     discussions with senior DPRK officials included the 
     predictable hard line rhetoric associated with recent DPRK 
     public statements, balanced discussion took place in the 
     formal as well as more personal informal sessions. The 
     demonstrated goodwill and willingness to go beyond first 
     level posturing gave the delegation reason to believe that 
     there are options that should be considered to avoid conflict 
     and resolve critical outstanding issues in a way 
     satisfactory to both sides. There is unanimous agreement 
     within the delegation that a way must be found to initiate 
     discussions in an agreed framework at the earliest 
     possible opportunity. Concern exists that failure to 
     address these crictical issues in a timely manner could 
     result in the proliferation of nuclear weapons and/or 
     technology to terrorist organizations and States.
       Repeated statements were made by the DPRK leadership that 
     their brief is that the Bush Administration seeks regime 
     change in North Korea, "The Bush Administration finds regime 
     change in different nations very attractive . . . and is 
     trying to have regime change, one by one. This kind of 
     conduct damages the U.S. image in the world and weakens the 
     leadership role of the U.S. This is the heart of the 
     question. If the U.S. would sign a non-aggression pact, we 
     would give up nuclear programs and weapons." The DPRK seeks 
     normalization of relations and non-interference with its 
     economic relations with South Korea and Japan. Chairman 
     Weldon indicated he did not believe regime change to be the 
     goal of the U.S.--and stated his position of not advocating 
     regime change. The issue of regime change is seen as the 
     determining factor in whether a peaceful resolution to the 
     current standoff is possible.
       Chairman Weldon also stated his concern that the 
     establishment of a DPRK nuclear weapons program would lead to 
     similar programs in surrounding nations. He cited Hu-
     Putin statements calling for a nuclear free Korean Peninsula. 
     The DPRK, Vice Minister Kim, acknowledged this as a valid 
     point, but indicated that the other nations can rely on the 
     U.S. "nuclear umbrella," while the DPRK has no such option.
       A major issue often voiced by DPRK officials remains a 
     requirement on their part to achieve a satisfactory framework 
     for bilateral discussions because of their belief that 
     certain issues "are too serious" to be dealt with in an 
     multilateral framework. The delegation believes flexibility 
     exists within a multilateral framework to satisfy the DPRK 
     officials desires for bilateral discussions.
       Requested visits by the delegation to the Pyongyang 
     Information (Computer) Center, a school for gifted students, 
     Kim Il Sung's birth place, the North Korean movie studio 
     production facilities, and a Christian church as well as 
     casual evening social events permitted the delegation to 
     interact with a wide variety of North Koreans and to travel 
     to several sections of the city.
       Prior to departure, Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials 
     extended an open invitation to the delegation for a return 
     visit and further indicated a willingness to consider visits 
     to the Yong Byon nuclear facility.

                               Seoul, ROK

       In Seoul, the delegation was hosted by President Roh for a 
     breakfast meeting, met with Foreign Minister Yoon, Members of 
     the National Assembly, Ambassador Hubbard, General LaPorte, 
     and other officials to discuss the meetings in the DPRK. The 
     ROK officials expressed their appreciation for the efforts of the 
     delegation and reinforced the need for dialogue with the 


       Each of the senior DPRK officials with whom the delegation 
     met cited the importance of the visit, given the current 
     tense relationship between the DPRK and the U.S. They also 
     noted their understanding of the role of Congress and that 
     the delegation was not visiting to negotiate issues for the 
     United States, but to enhance mutual understanding between 
     the two nations.
       In each of the meetings, Chairman Weldon cited the past and 
     continued importance of inter-parliamentary exchanges in 
     improving relationships with nations and improving the well-
     being of the peoples once considered to be enemies of the 
     United States, including the People's Republic of China and 
     the U.S.S.R., and expressed his belief that this could be the 
     case with the DPRK once normalized relations could be 
     established. He also expressed his belief that no one in the 
     Congress wishes ill-will toward the North Korean people and 
     that no one wants another war.
       Each of the senior DPRK officials noted the tense 
     international situation and sought to place the blame on the 
     U.S. "because the U.S. seeks to make us give up our military 
     forces which safeguard our political system." Each of the 
     leaders also cited their preference for the "Clinton 
     approach" in the bilateral relationship and took strong 
     exception to President Bush's inclusion of the DPRK as part 
     of the "Axis of Evil." They stated their belief that such a 
     characterization demonstrates that the U.S. is unwilling to 
     "accommodate with our country" and the U.S. seeks regime 
     change. "Further, the U.S. is enlisting other nations to 
     prepare a nuclear first strike--seeking to blackmail and 
     intimidate us . . . The U.S. does not want to coexist with us 
     . . . And not only does the Bush Administration not want to 
     coexist, but wishes to get rid of my nation with its nuclear 
     strength . . . We see the U.S. preparing for a military 
     strike . . . The U.S. must change its hostile policy." 
     Without necessarily supporting the Bush Administration 
     policies toward the DPRK, all members of the delegation 
     agreed with Representative Engel's point to DPRK officials, 
     that violations of the 1994 Agreed Framework by the DPRK were 
     the reason for the current tensions, not Bush Administration 
       The DPRK officials stated their belief that the situation 
     can only be resolved by acceptance of the current 
     leadership--coexistence--and dialogue. And in the meantime it 
     intends to continue to develop its "restraint capability" 
     (nuclear deterrent). "We have tried dialogue and have been 
     patient . . . Our willingness to meet in Beijing in April 
     shows our flexibility to allow the U.S. to save face, showing 
     our flexibility and sincerity to resolve the issues at any 
     cost . . . We have not had concrete results. The Bush 
     Administration has not responded to our request for bilateral 
     talks--they are more focused on our first giving up our 
     nuclear program . . . This causes us to believe that the Bush 
     Administration has not changed its policy about disarming my 
     nation . . . We want to conclude a non-aggression treaty 
     between the two countries and avoid a military strike on my 
       DPRK officials explicitly reconfirmed their nation's 
     possession of nuclear weapons and repeated previous public 
     statements regarding the reprocessing of the 8,000 spent fuel 
     rods from the Yong Byon facility. They also indicated they 
     will use the reprocessed materials for making weapons. They 
     further indicated that the only option open to them, given 
     their inclusion in the "Axis of Evil" and U.S. refusal to 
     engage in bilateral discussions, "is to strengthen and 
     possess restraint (deterrent) capability and we are putting 
     that into action . . . I know some say we possess dirty 
     weapons. We want to deny they are dirty ones . . . I 
     apologize for being so frank, but I believe you have good 
     intentions and I want to be frank. We are not blackmailing or 
     intimidating the U.S. side. We are not in a position to 
     blackmail the U.S.--the only super power. Our purpose in 
     having a restraint (deterrent) is related to the war in Iraq. 
     This is also related to statements by the hawks within the 
     the U.S. Administration. Our lesson learned is that if we 
     don't have nuclear restraint (deterrent), we cannot defend 
       DPRK officials maintained that their nuclear program is 
     only for deterrence and not being pursued to seek economic 
     aid--that "we only wish to be left alone. The nuclear issue 
     is directly linked to the security of our nation . . . We 
     need frank exchange on nuclear policies." DPRK officials 
     indicated that economic sanctions would be viewed as a 
     proclamation of war.

                              Attachment 1

       CODEL WELFON--Members of Congress: Curt Weldon (R-PA); 
     Solomon Ortiz (D-TX); Silvestre Reyes (D-TX); Joe Wilson (R-
     SC); Jeff Miller (R-FL); Eliot Engel (D-NY).
       Professional Staff: Doug Roach; Bob Lautrup.
       State Department Interpreter: Tong Kim.
       Navy Escorts: Commander Lorin Selby; Lt Commander/Dr. Erik 
     Sawyers; Lt Frank Cristinzio; Lt Tamara Mills.

                              Attachment 2

       DPRK--PAEK, Nam Sun, Foreign Minister; KIM Gye Gwan, Vice 
     Minister, Ministry of Foreign Affairs; CHAI Tae Bok, 
     Chairman, Supreme People's Assembly (SPA); CHO, Seung Ju, 
     Director General, Bureau of U.S. Affairs, Ministry of Foreign 
     Affairs; RHEE Sang No, Director of External Affairs, 
     Presidium of SPA; PAK Myong Guk, Director of U.S. Affairs, 
     Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
       ROK--ROH, Moo-Hyun, President; YOON, Foreign Minister; YOO, 
     Jay-Kun, Member, National Assembly; KIM Un-yong, Member, 
     National Assembly; LEE, Jae-joung, Member, National Assembly; 
     SONG, Young-gil, Member, National Assembly; LEE By-yang, 
     Member, National Assembly; PARK, Jin, Member, National 
     Assembly; KIM, Suh-woo, Chief of Staff to the Speaker, 
     National Assembly; SOHN, Jang-nai, former Ambassador to 
     Indonesia; Thomas C. Hubbard, U.S. Ambassador to ROK; General 
     Leon LaPorte, Commander, USFK.