New Sanctions Against North Korea: Too Little, Too Late?

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," July 16, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Is the United Nations doing anything to stop North Korea? Well, there is news tonight, the U.N. imposing new sanctions against five North Korean companies involved in the country's nuclear program. In addition, give North Korean individuals now face a travel ban and have had their assets frozen. And there is more. Two types of materials used in ballistic missile parts are now banned from being sold in North Korea. Do these sanctions matter to the North Koreans?

Joining us live is John Negroponte, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. Good evening, Ambassador. And do these sanctions make any difference to the people of North Korea, the leaders of North Korea?

JOHN NEGROPONTE, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE U.N.: Good evening. Yes, I think they do. I think it deepens their sense of isolation. I think it sends a message that the international community is unified against what they're doing. And I think it's particularly important that once again, some of their former fraternal socialist allies, such as China, have made a very strong statement against their behavior. So I do think it's important and I think it adds to the pressures on North Korea.

VAN SUSTEREN: Why do you think China is more involved in this? Is it because they fear that Japan's going to get nervous with a nuclear race and go nuclear itself, or is it because China realizes that it really is time to sort of control the Korean peninsula from having the most dangerous of weapons?

NEGROPONTE: Well, I think it's both of those, frankly. I don't think China's that comfortable with the idea of a neighboring country such as North Korea developing a nuclear capability not only for themselves but also engaged in illicit export of various types of nuclear materials around the world.

And then, as you mention, the idea for Japan that countries such as North Korea would have nuclear weapons would precipitate a tremendous debate inside that country as to whether they themselves -- that is to say, Japan -- should develop a nuclear capability. And that, I think, would be also a very destabilizing development in that part of the world. So for a whole host of reasons, there's a tremendous international interest in getting North Korea to participate in the -- to cooperate in the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.

VAN SUSTEREN: Aren't there still some countries, though, despite this, will be doing, if nothing else, covert trade, for instance, Iran or Syria, with North Korea so that it doesn't have as much of an economic effect as you might expect?

NEGROPONTE: Well, that's one of the reasons for the sanctions is to tighten the controls and the measures that are taken against this kind of proliferation activity. But it's hard to stop everything, by any means. I mean, the ocean is a big place. These ships go back and forth. Sometimes, it's a bit like looking for a needle in a haystack. But I think they get the message, and I think it's important that we all cooperate on this.

VAN SUSTEREN: If you had to choose, when Kim Jong Il dies, which is the best for the United States, that his son emerges the leader, that the military takes control and becomes -- has more power, or that his brother- in-law, or doesn't it make any bit of difference?

NEGROPONTE: Well, I mean, the honest answer to that -- and I say this not only as former ambassador to the United Nations but as a former director of national intelligence -- is that we don't really know. We don't know enough about the internal dynamic inside of North Korea. But my own -- if I had to hazard to guess, he -- it looks like he wants to have someone in his family succeed him. But if, indeed, it is his 27-year-old son, as has been widely reported in recent days, then I suspect that he'll be surrounded by some kind of group of regents or advisers that will help him steer the affairs of state. It's hard to imagine a 27-year-old running the country on his own.

VAN SUSTEREN: And of course, it's sort of interesting that the son is at least rumored to have gone to school in Switzerland, so having -- at least he's been out of that hermetically sealed country. Maybe he's gotten a little taste of how others live. Who knows.


VAN SUSTEREN: That's a chance.

NEGROPONTE: We're not even sure of that. But I think one thing is clear, that there is some kind of internal turmoil at the moment politically, and that, I think, has had the effect of slowing down the prospects for the resumption of these six-party talks. And it is vital that at some stage, the six-party talks for the denuclearization of the peninsula resume.

VAN SUSTEREN: Ambassador, thank you, sir.

NEGROPONTE: Thank you very much, Greta.

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