News / Asia

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

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

Republican Majority in Congress Off to Rough Start

Standoff over Homeland Security funding exposes philosophical, tactical problems within party More

Pakistan Blocks Baloch Activist from US Trip

Human Rights Commission of Pakistan slams Islamabad officials for stopping people from leaving country to attend human rights conference More

Video Muslims Long Thrived in North Carolina Before Students Killed

Idyll shattered February 10, when three Muslim university students living in Chapel Hill were gunned down by a neighbor More

ILO: Women Still Losing Out in Global Work Place

International Labor Organization says women are marginally better off now than they were 20 years ago 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.
Muslims Long Thrived in N Carolina Before Slaying of 3 Studentsi
X
Jerome Socolovsky
March 05, 2015 9:04 PM
The killings of three Muslim students in North Carolina early last month came as Muslims across the United States have felt under siege, partly as a result of terrorist attacks being committed internationally in the name of their faith. But Muslims have long thrived in university cities in this part of the American South. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Muslims Long Thrived in N Carolina Before Slaying of 3 Students

The killings of three Muslim students in North Carolina early last month came as Muslims across the United States have felt under siege, partly as a result of terrorist attacks being committed internationally in the name of their faith. But Muslims have long thrived in university cities in this part of the American South. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Fuel Shortages in Nigeria Threaten Election Campaigns

Nigeria is suffering a gas shortage as the falling oil price has affected the country’s ability to import and distribute refined fuels. Coming just weeks before scheduled March 28 elections, the shortage could have a big impact on the campaign, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA.
Video

Video Report: Human Rights in Annexed Crimea Deteriorating

A new report by Freedom House and the Atlantic Council of the United States says the human rights situation in Crimea has deteriorated since the peninsula was annexed by Russia in March of last year. The report says the new authorities in Crimea are discriminating against minorities, suppressing freedom of expression, and forcing residents to assume Russian citizenship or leave. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video 50 Years Later African-Americans See New Voting Rights Battles Ahead

Thousands of people will gather to mark the 50th anniversary of a historic civil rights march on March 7th in Selma, Alabama. In 1965, dozens of people were seriously injured during the event known as “Bloody Sunday,” after police attacked African-American demonstrators demanding voting rights. VOA’s Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights pioneers who are still fighting for voting rights in Alabama more than 50 years later.
Video

Video Craft Brewers Taking Hold in US Beer Market

Since the 1950’s, the U.S. beer industry has been dominated by a handful of huge breweries. But in recent years, the rapid rise of small craft breweries has changed the American market and, arguably, the way people drink beer. VOA’s Jeff Custer reports.
Video

Video Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Authorities Struggle to Secure a Divided Mariupol

Since last month's cease-fire went into effect, shelling around the port city of Mariupol has decreased, but it is thought pro-Russian separatists remain poised to attack. For the city’s authorities, a major challenge is gaining the trust of residents, while at the same time rooting out informants who are passing sensitive information to the rebels. Patrick Wells reports for VOA.
Video

Video Volunteer Gauge-Watchers Help Fine-Tune Weather Science

An observation system called CoCoRaHS is working to improve weather science, thanks to thousands of volunteers across the country who measure precipitation in their own backyards, then share their data through the Internet. VOA's Shelley Schlender reports.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.

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