News / Asia

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

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

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

Report from member of British think tank says Russian extradition requests keep targets from traveling More

US Lawmakers Weigh Turkish Anti-terror Moves

Turkey’s two-pronged campaign against Islamic State militants, Kurdish PKK forces provokes mixed reactions on Capitol Hill More

What Happens When Americans Eat What They Tweet

You are what you tweet, according to new maps that show a correlation between obesity and tweeting about high-fat foods 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.
Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponentsi
X
Henry Ridgwell
July 28, 2015 9:53 PM
A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video Special Olympics Athletes Meet International Friends

The Special Olympics are underway in Los Angeles, California, with athletes from 165 countries participating in an event that gives people with intellectual disabilities the chance to take part in an international competition. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports that for athletes and their families, it's also an opportunity to make new friends in an international setting.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Iran Nuclear Pact Wins Few New US Congressional Backers

Later this week, President Barack Obama returns from a trip to Africa to confront a U.S. Congress roiled by the nuclear accord with Iran, an agreement that has received the blessing of the U.N. Security Council. Days of intensive lobbying and testimony by top administration officials have won few new congressional supporters of the pact. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Critics of Japan Defense Policy Focus on Okinawa

In Okinawa, many locals have long complained that Tokyo places an unfair burden on the tiny island by locating most of Japan's U.S. military bases there. As Japan's government moves toward strengthening and expanding the country's defense policies, opponents of those plans are joining local protesters in Okinawa, voicing concern about where the country is headed. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Okinawa.
Video

Video IS Uses Chemical Weapons in Syrian Attack

Islamic State militants have added a new weapon in their arsenal of fear: chemical weapons. VOA Kurdish service reporter Zana Omer was on the scene within hours of a recent attack in Hasakah, Syria, and has details of the subsequent investigation, in this report narrated by Miguel Amaya.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.

VOA Blogs