Rumsfeld to North: Follow LibyaSINGAPORE ― The U.S. defense secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, urged North Korea to follow the “Libyan example” in a speech on Saturday at the annual Shangri-La Dialogue defense forum in Singapore.
The future of the Pacific Rim, said Mr. Rumsfeld, will depend on the path North Korea takes ― whether it continues to repress its people and threaten its neighbors, or follows Libya’s example that “leads back to membership in the community of nations.”
Libya agreed to completely scrap its weapons of mass destruction program in December 2003 and the United States, in return, said it would restore full diplomatic ties with the North African country.
Security cooperation among nations in Southeast Asia is expanding but could be set back if China, Russia and North Korea don’t become more open and less threatening, Mr. Rumsfeld said to delegates from the Asia-Pacific region attending the annual conference hosted by the International Institute for Strategic Studies.
“The way ahead for other nations will be something that our country will watch closely,” said Mr. Rumsfeld, citing attempts by Russia to restrict the freedom of neighboring countries, the continued lack of transparency in China’s military budget and threats by North Korea to develop nuclear weapons. He also pledged that the United States would stay involved in Southeast Asia and pointed to improved relations between the United States and Japan, India, Indonesia, South Korea and Pakistan.
After the speech, Mr. Rumsfeld met with Seoul’s defense minister, Yoon Kwang-ung, who was attending the conference that started Friday and ended yesterday.
“The two countries reaffirmed that their alliance is significant for the stability of the Korean Peninsula and for the Northeast Asian region and agreed to make smooth progress regarding issues related to the alliance,” said Kwon An-do, deputy defense minister for policy, who was at the meeting.
by Kim Min-seok, Kim Soe-jung