News / USA

Kerry Traveling to South Korea and China for Talks on North Korea

Kerry Traveling to South Korea and China for Talks on North Koreai
X
February 11, 2014 3:25 AM
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry leaves Wednesday for South Korea and China where he will meet with officials about containing North Korea's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports.
Kerry Traveling to South Korea and China for Talks on North Korea
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry leaves Wednesday for South Korea and China, where he will meet with officials about containing North Korea's nuclear program. The Obama administration also is working to secure the release of U.S. citizen Kenneth Bae, who is being held in a North Korean labor camp.
 
U.S. officials continue to push North Korea to release Kenneth Bae, an American missionary. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison on charges of plotting to overthrow the government. If China can help with that release, Secretary Kerry is willing to try, said State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf.
 
"Of course the Chinese enjoy a special relationship with the North Korean government that has proved helpful in pushing some of our mutual goals, whether its denuclearization of the peninsula, getting North Korea to stop taking provocative actions. Certainly if there could be a role, I'm sure we would be happy to have that conversation," said Harf.
 
The standoff shows that Washington knows little about what's going on in Pyongyang, especially since the rise of Kim Jong Un, said American University professor Lou Goodman.
 
"I don't think there's real knowledge about what the agenda is of this new regime, how they see themselves. There isn't knowledge about who has contacts, who doesn't have contacts," said Goodman.
 
China, as North Korea's principal contact, is working to improve dialogue with Pyongyang, said Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei.
 
"The overall situation on the Korean peninsula at present is quite fragile. We hope all sides can exercise restraint and not take steps to provoke each other," said Lei.
 
However, the United States should not count on China for a breakthrough with North Korea, said American Enterprise Institute analyst Michael Auslin.
 
"The U.S. hasn't been coming up with any new initiatives and certainly no one through the entire process has come up with new initiatives other than China, which is essentially to keep giving the North Koreans time," said Auslin.
 
North Korea has used that time to rebuild its nuclear program. The United States has said it will not resume talks with Pyongyang until it agrees to restart nuclear inspections. Assistant Secretary for East Asian Affairs Danny Russel stressed the importance of any talks being grounded in a real chance for progress.
 
"Talks for talk’s sake are not the path to verifiable denuclearization. It’s essential that North Korea participate as a serious negotiating partner," said Russel.
 
It's not at all clear that North Korea is ready for that.
 
"Leaders of small states, when they are pressured, can feel they're in a corner and commit hari kari. And I think China fears that," said American University’s Goodman.
 
That makes avoiding confrontation important to both China and the United States.
 
"China wants the status quo because it's helpful for their policy to have the U.S. off-balance and consumed with dealing with North Korea. The U.S. wants the status quo because, quite frankly, during a decade of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan we didn't and couldn't have dealt with something changing on the peninsula," said Auslin.
 
In Seoul, Kerry also hopes to ease tensions between South Korea and Japan over disputed islands that may contain large deposits of natural gas.

You May Like

Hezbollah Chief Says Does Not Want War But Ready for One

VOA's Jerusalem correspondent reports that with an Israeli election looming and Hezbollah's involvement in Syria, neither side appears interested in a wider conflict More

Multimedia VOA SPECIAL REPORT: Despite Danger, Best US Minds Battle Deadly Virus

Scientists at America's premier biological research center race in military confinement to find effective drugs, speedier tests and a safe vaccine amid the deadliest outbreak of Ebola in history More

Kurdish Poet Battles to Defend Language, Culture

Kawa Nemir's work is an example of what he sees as an irreversible cultural and political assertiveness among Kurds in Turkey More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unresti
X
Heather Murdock
January 30, 2015 8:00 PM
Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Threat of Creeping Lava Has Hawaiians on Edge

Residents of the small town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii face an advancing threat from the Kilauea volcano. Local residents are keeping a watchful eye on creeping lava. Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Pro-Kremlin Youth Group Creatively Promotes 'Patriotic' Propaganda

As Russia's President Vladimir Putin faces international pressure over Ukraine and a failing economy, unofficial domestic groups are rallying to his support. One such youth organization, CET, or Network, uses creative multimedia to appeal to Russia's urban youth with patriotic propaganda. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Mobile Infrared Scanners May Help Homeowners Save Energy

Mobile photo scanners have been successfully employed for navigational purposes, such as Google Maps. Now, a group of scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology says the same technology could help homeowners better insulate their houses and save some money. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Issues or Ethnicity? Question Divides Nigeria

As Nigeria goes to the polls next month, many expect the two top presidential contenders to gain much of their support from constituencies organized along ethnic or religious lines. But are faith and regional blocs really what political power in Nigeria is about? Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid