News / Asia

Nations Press Diplomacy in Korean Crisis

TEXT SIZE - +

Foreign ministers from the United States, Japan and South Korea will meet in Washington next week to plan their next moves in the international stand-off over North Korea.

The meeting, announced Tuesday in Tokyo and Seoul, comes as China appeals for the three allies to reconsider its proposal for an emergency meeting with North Korea. Tensions remain high, with U.S. and South Korean warships continuing a major exercise in the Yellow Sea, and both Koreas threatening an overwhelming response to any provocation.

North Korea Tuesday made its first public announcement about a uranium enrichment facility, which it showed to U.S. experts earlier this month. State media boasted that there are "many thousands of centrifuges" operating at the plant, which gives the country a second way to make nuclear weapons fuel.

Later Tuesday, a close confidante of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il arrived in Beijing for five days of talks that raised hopes for a diplomatic solution to the crisis, sparked by Pyongyang's shelling of a South Korean island last week.

Choe Thae Bok, a secretary of the ruling party's Central Committee, was accompanied by the director of the party's International Department.

The United States and Japan on Monday brushed off China's proposal for an emergency meeting of the six nations involved in negotiations on North Korea's nuclear programs.

A U.S. spokesman said a meeting would be nothing more than "public relations" until Pyongyang shows it is ready to change its behavior. But China's Foreign Ministry insisted at a briefing Tuesday that a meeting is "imperative," and urged the three to take its proposal seriously.

The idea is expected to be discussed further when U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton meets in Washington next week with foreign ministers Seiji Maehara of Japan and Kim Sung-hwan of South Korea. The three will seek to coordinate their response to North Korea's shelling of Yeonpyeong island, which killed two soldiers and two civilians.

South Korea's Yonhap news agency said Clinton and Kim were also likely to discuss the issue with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on the sidelines of this week's meeting in Kazakhstan of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. Russia is a participant in the 6-party talks, along with the United States, Japan, China, North and South Korea.

In yet another diplomatic initiative, Japan's Foreign Ministry said its top official for North Korea was on his way to Beijing for talks with his Chinese counterpart.

In New York, the U.N. Security Council convened Monday to discuss the Yeonpyeong shelling and North Korea's uranium enrichment program. U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice said the United States is seeking stronger enforcement of U.N. sanctions against the North, and wants China to "play a responsible leadership role" in the region.

South Korean military officials have reinforced their garrison on Yeonpyeong, but late Monday canceled plans to resume a live fire exercise. It was the original exercise on the island last week that triggered the North's artillery barrage.

Pyongyang said Tuesday that if its enemies "dare to fire one shell in our territory and sea territory, they will have to pay for it."

You May Like

Photogallery Pope's Easter Prayer: Peace in Ukraine, Syria

Pontiff also calls for end to terrorist acts in Nigeria, violence in Iraq, and success in peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians More

Abdullah Holds Lead in Afghan Presidential Election

Country's Election Commission says that with half of the ballots counted, former FM remains in the lead with 44 percent of the vote More

Russia-Ukraine Crisis Could Trigger Cyber War

As tensions between Kyiv and Moscow escalate, so too has frequency of online attacks targeting government, news and financial sites More

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.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid