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

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

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