News

Senior South Korean Official Apologizes for North's Nuclear Test

South Korea's government will be changing its policy of engaging North Korea in the wake of Pyongyang's apparent nuclear test. The official responsible for implementing that policy has apologized in parliament.

Under President Roh Moo-hyun, South Korea has spent billions of dollars in aid and investment in the North, hoping to ensure the communist state remains peaceful and free of nuclear weapons.

South Korean Leaders Take Heat For North's Nuclear Test

As the world responds to North Korea's announcement of a nuclear test, Washington's envoy to Seoul is hinting at an even chillier relationship with Pyongyang. At the same time, South Korean lawmakers are turning up the heat on President Roh Moo-hyun's administration.

The U.S. ambassador to South Korea, Alexander Vershbow, implied that North Korea's apparent test of a nuclear weapon has made a direct dialogue with Washington less likely.

"We have been sending very clear signals for many, many months that we are ready to have bilateral talks with the North Koreans in the context of the six-party talks," he said.  "Where we go from here, after yesterday's events though, is a different question."

Washington has worked with five nations - South Korea, Japan, Russia, and China - to convince North Korea to fulfill its promises to be free of nuclear weapons. A few weeks ago, Washington offered a one-on-one meeting if Pyongyang simply agreed to return to six-nation disarmament talks.

The United States has condemned the North's test claims. Vershbow accused Pyongyang of "squandering" the chance of a better future by trading its arms for economic and diplomatic benefits.

The North Koreans appeared to be turning up the rhetoric in the face of international condemnation. South Korea's Yonhap News Agency quoted an unidentified North Korean official as saying he hoped the nuclear issue could be resolved before there was - in his words - "an unhappy incident of us firing a nuclear missile."

While experts estimate the North could have two or three nuclear weapons, they doubt Pyongyang has the technology to mount them on a missile.

In Seoul, the cabinet of President Roh Moo-hyun came under scrutiny, especially Unification Minister Lee Jeong-seok.

Lee is in charge of implementing President Roh's engagement policy, which has transferred billions of dollars of aid and investments to the North.

Even before Lee began testifying in South Korea's parliament, opposition lawmaker Kim Yong-gap demanded he apologize for allowing the North's test to take place. He added angrily, Lee should go drown himself in Seoul's Han River.

Lee says he tried to get North Korea to end its nuclear programs through diplomacy. He says he is sorry for failing, and for making the public feel insecure.

A spokesman quoted President Roh Tuesday as saying the engagement policy would have to change, but did not say how.

Other South Korean cabinet ministers were questioned in what lawmakers say will be three days of parliamentary inquiries into the North's nuclear test.

South Korean Defense Minister Yoon Kwang-ung says the country is able to maintain security.  He says South Korea's armed forces are capable of reacting immediately to any action North Korea takes.

The U.N. Security Council is preparing a resolution that is expected to include economic sanctions against North Korea. Pyongyang has said in the past it would view such sanctions as an act of war.

South Korea's U.N. ambassador said, in a televised interview, that whatever the U.N. resolution includes, it will have Seoul's backing. But other government officials have said South Korea will not back any military action against the North.

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs