In a long and vigorous round of questioning at a 21 June 2000 State Department press briefing, spokesman Richard Boucher tried to explain the implications of the change in terminology from "rogue" to "state of concern":
Question: Is "rogue state" then out of the lexicon as of today?
Boucher: I haven't used it for a while.
Question: Is it possible that some states will still be referred to as "rogue states" if they—
Boucher: If they want to be rogues, they can be rogues, but generally we have not been using the term for a while, I think.
Question: So it's not a matter of some countries continue to be "rogue states" and others have progressed to "states of concern"; all of them henceforth are "states of concern"?
Question: But does this lower the bar for what a "state of concern" is, now that there's no "rogue state"?
Boucher: Does this lower the bar? No, because, as I said, it's more a description than a change in policy, because the issue is: Are various countries whose activities around the world have been troubling to us, are they actually dealing with the issues that we have been concerned about? And if we are able to encourage them or pressure them or otherwise produce changes in their behavior, and therefore a change in our relationship, we're willing to do that. If they're not, then we're going to keep our sanctions on and we're going to keep our restrictions on and we're not going to change our policies.
Question: Can you tell us how many there are?
Question: Has anyone actually done a rough list?
Boucher: We have found the opportunity to express our concerns about different states at different times in different ways. We try to deal with each one on its behavior, on its actions, on its merits.
Question: I just want to ask a question on the former rogue state of North Korea. (Laughter)
Boucher: The state previously known as rogue; is that it? (Laughter)