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

Ebola Death Toll Nears 5,000 as Virus Advances

West Africa bears heaviest burden; Mali toddler’s death raises new fears More

Jordan’s Battle With Islamic State Militants Carries Domestic Risks

Despite Western concerns that IS militants are preparing a Jordanian offensive, analysts call the kingdom's solid intel a strong deterrent More

Asian-Americans Assume Office in Record Numbers

Steadily deepening engagement in local politics pays off for politicians like Chinese-American Judy Chu More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Comanche Chief Quanah Parker’s Century-Old House Falling Apart

One of the most fascinating people in U.S. history was Quanah Parker, the last chief of the American Indian tribe, the Comanche. He was the son of a Comanche warrior and a white woman who had been captured by the Indians. Parker was a fierce warrior until 1875 when he led his people to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and took on a new, peaceful life. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Cache, Oklahoma, Quanah’s image remains strong among his people, but part of his heritage is in danger of disappearing.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid