eems to becoming strained. I mean, I understand your trade deficit is enormous with China. To our perception here in Australia, China’s trade is certainly important but the exchange rate of course - well, to put it mildly, it's cheap. Does America see this as part of the argument that you’ve got with China? Are you going to try to do with China what you did with Japan roughly in the mid ‘80s? Try and persuade them to alter how they trade with you?
RICHARD ARMITAGE: You’re precisely correct that we have a ballooning trade deficit with China. One of the reasons that our Secretary of Treasury and others and other international forces have asked the Chinese to consider a depreciation of the Renminbi addresses that in the longer term, it would certainly not in the short term have much of an effect. For the People’s Republic of China, I suspect if two years ago I stood in front of this august body, not a person here would say that the US was going to be able, after the EP3 incidents, the so-called spy plane incident, to have a congenial relationship with the People’s Republic of China. And yet President Hu Jintao recently said it’s the best relationship ever existed between the United States and China. So we have problems and we also have some common interests. We’re going to work on the problems together. Hopefully privately and quietly and not publicly through the news media and where our common interests come to the fore then we’ll work again diplomatically such as we’re doing with North Korea. But I might add that we are absolutely delighted with the state of our relations with People’s Republic of China and the direction we’re going. Now, we may be a little envious of the $25 billion gas deal that I was recently reading about here.
QUESTION: Thank you, Deputy Secretary of State. Has the American Government actually asked Australia to help interdict the shipping of North Korea, and if so, under what conventions?
RICHARD ARMITAGE: It’s quite clear to us that the architecture of nonproliferation which we’ve enjoyed and all benefited from for a great number of years post World War II, the nuclear age, is still necessary but no longer sufficient when we’re dealing with either the so-called rogue states or transnational actors of failed states. So we’re trying to come up, as I suggested in my remarks, with novel approaches to this. And among the things we’re discussing in the 11 nation body-- soon I think to go to Paris-- to discuss these further is everything from the legality of doing inspections, for instance at sea, but the security initiative is not simply a matter of seaborne activity, it has to do with transit of materials through different airports etcetera. We’re also looking at liability. This is an initiative which is not quite ready for unveiling and that’s why we’re having the very intense discussions and that’s why I very carefully noted that the Government of Australia is involved in the discussions because we ourselves haven’t hit on the total complete answer to our questions about liability and about international legality. There are rights and circumstances to board and check bills of lading etcetera, particularly when, as seems to be the case, the flags on the ships don’t recently match the countries of origin held on the bill of lading. But these are things that we’re trying to work out together.
QUESTION: Karen Snowden from Radio Australia. Sir, I just wonder if you can tell us what intelligence the US administration has or what proof there is at this stage about North Korea’s capability in the nuclear field? Has reprocessing started? How far are they down the plutonium track? And is the regime developing a nuclear weapon? What can you tell us of that?
RICHARD ARMITAGE: I think I’ll restrain myself from indulging in giving exactly the facts and figures of our intelligence in North Korea and content myself, ma’am, to say that it is our intelligence estimate publicly - or made public - that the North Koreans have one or two nuclear weapons now. There was no question in our mind, and I don’t think in the minds of anyone in the governments in Asia including China and the Republic of Korea now, that North Korea was intent on reprocessing the spent fuel in the so-called 8,000 rods, and I think there’s very little doubt that there was a highly enriched uranium facility. After all, you don’t have to take the word of the US Government or the Australian Office of National Assessments or anything else, you can just listen to what North Koreans say about their own capabilities and come up with a pretty good picture over time of what they say they have.