U.S. Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes asserted yesterday that North Korea’s possession of nuclear weapons places it in a different category from Iran, which is still developing its capabilities.
Rhodes made his comments in response to the question of whether or not he thought Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s recent comparison between the Iranian and North Korean situations was fair.
According to Rhodes, North Korea’s possession of nuclear weapons is “all the more reason why we need to take steps to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon; so that we’re not presented with the type of situation that we have in North Korea, where you’re seeking to denuclearize a country that has already crossed that threshold.”
Rhodes therefore called on the international community to “clearly enforce nonproliferation norms, so that countries do not destabilize global security through the pursuit of these weapons.”
That Iran is near to developing such weapons is why the U.S is “placing sanctions on the Iran government,” he said, adding, “the reason why we have opened the door to look for diplomatic solutions is to allow Iran to follow its international duty of nonproliferation and provide it access to nuclear technology for peaceful means, instead of acquiring nuclear weapons.”
Rhodes also reasserted that the U.S has no intention of recognizing the North as a nuclear power.
During a meeting with South Korean Minister of Foreign Affairs Yun Byung Se in April, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry also rejected the possibility that the U.S might consider recognizing North Korea as such.