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Calls on Obama to Seek Greater Cooperation from China, Reconsider Cuts to
Missile Defense Systems

– As North
Korea continues to isolate itself from the rest of the world by pursuing nuclear
weapons, U.S. Senator Kit Bond today spoke on the Senate floor and urged the
Obama Administration to take tougher action against it through engaging China,
critical allies and reconsidering its proposed defense budget cuts.

            “The bottom line is
we need a little less talk and a lot more action” said Bond. “And key to a
successful resolution with North Korea and this dangerous situation is China. 
We need China to play a constructive leadership role and support the Security
Council resolution toughening existing sanctions.”

Recent nuclear tests, last month’s rocket launch, increasing threats and
the suspected restarting of the Yongbyon nuclear plant reignited debates
regarding how to best deal with China’s troublesome neighbor, North Korea.
During his floor
speech, Bond stressed that working with China is the key to a successful
resolution with North Korea. He explained that China provides as much as 90
percent of North Korea’s energy, 40 percent of its food, and without China’s
support, North Korea will struggle to survive.  Bond proposed that sanctions
should be applied to North Korea that are as tough as or tougher than those
applied to Iran. In calling for tougher action, Bond noted that North Korea
actually tested and detonated a nuclear weapon, and fired missiles over Japan
and throughout the region.

Bond also
proposed that the U.S. work together with other critical allies such Korea and
Japan to defuse North Korea’s nuclear ambitions. Bond pointed out that Korea’s
President, Lee Myung Bak, unlike his predecessor, has embraced the United States
instead of North Korea.  He noted that President Lee Myung Bak has also embraced
working constructively within the six-party framework and with the United
States.  He cited the U.S.-Korea Defense Cooperation Enhancement Act as
an important symbol of this cooperation. Bond also stressed that Japan is
steadily increasing its role in international security affairs and the U.S. must
continue to support these initiatives. 

In addition to urging greater cooperation with China,
Bond called on the Obama Administration to reconsider its proposed budget cuts
to missile defense systems and planned cuts to ballistic missile defense
systems, especially at a time when the threats from North Korea and Iran are
growing more dangerous every day. He pointed out that according to Lieutenant
General Patrick O’Reilly, the head of the Missile Defense Agency, the U.S. has
fine-tuned its ability to shoot down long-range missiles launched by North Korea
based on a trio of highly successful tests mimicking such an

            “After fifteen years
of happy talk and discouraging attempts during the last months of the Bush
Administration to turn the six party talks into the two party talks, the time
for tougher action is way overdue,” said Bond. “Robust support for ballistic
missile defense is now more important than ever. I hope my colleagues will
reconsider the President’s proposed cuts to ballistic missile

Bond is a
co-sponsor of the North Korea Sanctions Act of 2009, which requires that
North Korea be listed as a state sponsor of terror and ensure human rights is a
prominent issues in negotiations between North Korea and the United States.
North Korea, officially named the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea,
maintains one of the world’s largest armies, but standards of training,
discipline and equipment are poor according to reports.  Under the rule of
Supreme Leader Kim Jong-il, North Korea is one of the few countries still under
communist rule which tolerates no dissent.  Its destroyed economy suffered from
natural disasters, poor planning and fails to keep up with its burgeoning
neighbors in China and South Korea.  Although the Korean War ended with the
armistice of 1953, the tension of the demilitarized zone feels as though the war
has not ended.