News / Asia

Report: More Urgency Needed in Washington's Approach to North Korea

TEXT SIZE - +
William Ide

A bipartisan task force of former U.S. officials and experts is urging the U.S. government to do more to actively resolve issues with North Korea.  

A Council on Foreign Relations sponsored task force has released a report saying the Obama administration should take a more aggressive approach in its North Korea policy.

A former special envoy for negotiations with North Korea and co-chair of the task force, Charles Pritchard, says that while the administration has handled North Korea relatively well, the task force did find fault with the approach that Obama administration officials have dubbed "strategic patience."

"There is a risk involved, if you continue down that line, that these very very serious issues with regard to North Korea - you risk turning them into a never ending, never resolved issue," said Charles Pritchard.

Pritchard says that this is why the task force is recommending Washington take a more targeted approach.

North Korea's actions in the past two years - including the launch of missiles and a second nuclear test - have increased tensions in the region. It has refused to return to six-party talks on ending its nuclear program that include China, Russia, Japan, South Korea and the United States.

More recently, it has been accused of sinking a South Korean warship, in which 46 sailors were killed.  At the U.N. on Tuesday, the North Korean ambassador denied involvement in the sinking incident and warned his government's military could respond if the U.N. Security Council takes action against Pyongyang.   

The council's report said the United States should focus on three areas with regard to North Korea; preventing the spread of nuclear weapons technologies from the communist nation to other countries or groups; stopping the build-up of North Korea's missile arsenal; and de-nuclearizing the Korean peninsula.

The report lists North Korea's missile development program as an urgent issue, and recommends the United States hold bilateral talks with Pyongyang on that issue.

Balbina Hwang at the National Defense University in Washington says that just as North Korea's nuclear program requires an international response, so does North Korea's missile program.

"Now, what worries me here is that essentially they seem to be saying to go back and revive where we left off in the 1990s because the Clinton administration approach was a bilateral approach," said Balbina Hwang. "And I think that was one of the problems - that uniquely bilateral approach, I think, is not the best way to address the issue."

However, Hwang says that after reviewing the report's recommendations, she does not see new or creative approaches to dealing with North Korea.

The report recommends two options - one that seeks to better manage the problem and another that calls for the administration to consistently press North Korea to return to the path of denuclearization.

Council on Foreign Relations Senior Fellow on Korea Studies Scott Snyder says the report recommends the use of diplomatic tools, in coordination with regional support and coercive measures.

"Another strand of the report suggests that we should do what we can to enable internally driven change, transformation in North Korea, as the best possible way to achieve the goal of integration of North Korea with the rest of northeast Asia," said Scott Snyder.

Members of the task force also stressed the importance of stepping up efforts to engage China on North Korea.

Pritchard says one area where the U.S. could engage China more is in its response to the allegations North Korea sunk the South Korean warship in March.

Pritchard says Chinese support of the punishment of North Korea over the incident is a litmus test for Beijing.

"We have to watch that play out," he said. "If the Chinese do not step up, it is indication there, that they are in fact supporting the actions of North Korea.  I do not think that that is the message the Chinese want to send."

China has downplayed the incident and focused on avoiding further escalation.  Beijing is North Korea's major political ally and its most important source of food and energy.  

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 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.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid