Accessibility links

Pyongyang Supporters: UN Condemnation Could Compromise Nuclear Talks

  • Jason Strother

North Korea says any United Nations condemnation of its recent missile launch will compel it to retaliate. Some supporters of Pyongyang in Japan say that could mean an end to talks on halting North Korea's nuclear programs.

North Korea says the video shows its launch of a rocket carrying a communications satellite into orbit.

The United States says the launch was a failure - the rocket and its payload crashed into the Pacific Ocean.

Washington and Tokyo are pressing the United Nations Security Council to condemn the launch, a move that could extend existing sanctions on Pyongyang.

In New York, North Korea's U.N. ambassador, Pak Tok Hun, says his nation is exercising its right to explore outer space.

"And if the Security Council, they take any kind of steps whatever, we will consider this infringes upon the sovereignty of our country and next option will be ours," he said.

Pak did not say what any future steps might be.

But in Tokyo, a pro-Pyongyang organization called Chongryon, the General Association of Korean Residents in Japan, lays out one possible option.

Chongryon's members are ethnic Koreans whose families were brought to Japan as workers early in the last century.

Mun Kwang Woo, Chongryon's deputy director of international affairs, says he is 100 percent sure that the U.N. will not adopt a new resolution, but if it does, Pyongyang could officially call an end to the six-party talks.

In those talks, South Korea, the United States, China, Japan and Russia are trying to persuade North Korea to relinquish is nuclear weapons program in return for economic aid and diplomatic relations. The talks have been deadlocked since December.

But some analysts say Sunday's rocket launch could get the talks back on track.

Mark Caprio, who teaches Korean studies at Rikkyo University in Tokyo, says that if history serves as any guide, the launch could revive the stalled negotiations, as happened in 2006 after North Korea tested a nuclear device.

"This is how it's worked in the past, if North Korea is using this to gain a foothold into engagement, then they have the pass to go on, it's worked very successfully for them in the past," he said.

Caprio says to ensure the nuclear negotiations resume, it would help if President Obama initiated direct talks with Pyongyang, in addition to the six-party meetings.

XS
SM
MD
LG