News

    US Says It Is Not Worried About South Korea's Food Aid to North

    The U.S. ambassador to South Korea says Washington and Seoul do not have widely divergent views on North Korea, despite an announcement Sunday that the South is ready on its own and outside the six-party nuclear talks framework to provide food aid to the North. VOA's Stephanie Ho reports from Washington.

    The current U.S. ambassador to South Korea, Alexander Vershbow, did not share the concerns of one of his predecessors about Seoul's food deal.

    He said the goal of each of the countries negotiating with Pyongyang is the same. "I don't think our approach and that of the South Koreans is as divergent as you suggest. Yes, the South Koreans, and the Chinese as well, are not interested in seeing precipitous change or regime collapse. They worry about the flow of refugees and the economic burdens of rapid change. But I think that they certainly agree with us that it is an immediate priority, and an urgent priority, to deal with the nuclear weapons," he said.

    Vershbow was responding to Jim Lilley, a former U.S. ambassador to South Korea and China, who said he has reservations about South Korea's agreement to send 400 tons of rice to North Korea, beginning next month. "I think most of us are concerned about the North Korean arrangement with South Korea," he said.

    Lilley said he thinks the United States has a difference of opinion with China and South Korea on what approach the international community should take toward North Korea. He said Washington places a priority on persuading Pyongyang to completely abandon its nuclear weapons programs, while Seoul and Beijing appear to be concerned with maintaining stability and developing North Korea's economy.

    But Vershbow, addressing the same audience in Washington, said the South Korean aid is linked to Pyongyang's compliance with the February 13 agreement, reached as part of the so-called Six Party Talks process, to begin dismantling North Korea's nuclear facilities.

    "It's my impression that they made very clear to the North Koreans that, as they've announced, that the timing and speed of the actual delivery of the rice and fertilizer aid will be contingent on fulfillment of North Korea's obligations under the February 13 agreement," he said.

    Vershbow said delivery of the South Korean food aid will not start until the end of May, so that gives the North Koreans time to, in his words, "come around and get back on track in implementing its commitments." Pyongyang missed an April 14 deadline to begin closing its main nuclear reactor because of a dispute over frozen North Korean funds in a Macau bank.

    Although the South Korean deal announced Sunday is separate from the Six Party process, Vershbow said it is closely synchronized to those talks, which include the United States, North Korea, China, South Korea, Japan and Russia. "We remain confident that we're on the same page on this issue, and that we know is the key to success. If the North Koreans can divide us, of course, progress is far less likely," he said.

    Vershbow just completed a cross-country trip throughout the United States with his South Korean counterpart, Lee Tae-sik, to, in Vershbow's words, "talk up the U.S.-Korean relationship."

    Their trip last week was jolted by the shooting at Virginia Tech. The 23-year-old gunman came to the United States from South Korea. Vershbow said South Koreans initially feared a backlash, which never materialized.

    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.
    Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroadi
    X
    May 02, 2016 1:36 PM
    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Ethiopia’s Drought Takes Toll on Children

    Ethiopia is dealing with its worst drought in decades, thanks to El Nino weather patterns. An estimated 10 million people urgently need food aid. Six million of them are children, whose development may be compromised without sufficient help, Marthe van der Wolf reports for VOA from the Metahara district.
    Video

    Video Little Havana - a Slice of Cuban Culture in Florida

    Hispanic culture permeates everything in Miami’s Little Havana area: elderly men playing dominoes as they discuss politics, cigar rollers deep at work, or Cuban exiles talking with presidential candidates at a Cuban coffee window. With the recent rapprochement between Cuba and United States, one can only expect stronger ties between South Florida and Cuba.
    Video

    Video California Republicans Weigh Presidential Choices Amid Protests

    Republican presidential candidates have been wooing local party leaders in California, a state that could be decisive in selecting the party's nominee for U.S. president. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports delegates to the California party convention have been evaluating choices, while front-runner Donald Trump drew hundreds of raucous protesters Friday.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Football Team Helps War-Torn City Cope

    With the conflict still raging across much of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, between the rebel PKK and the Turkish state, many Kurds are trying to escape the turmoil by focusing on the success of their football team Amedspor in Diyarbakir. The club is increasingly becoming a symbol for Kurds, not only in Diyarbakir but beyond. Dorian Jones reports from southeast Turkey.
    Video

    Video ‘The Lights of Africa’ - Through the Eyes of 54 Artists

    An exhibition bringing together the work of 54 African artists, one from each country, is touring the continent after debuting at COP21 in Paris. Called "Lumières d'Afrique," the show centers on access to electricity and, more figuratively, ideas that enlighten. Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, the exhibition's first stop.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora