News / Asia

N. Korea to US: No Talks Without Removing Sanctions

Residents Living on China-North Korea Border Await Calmer TimesResidents Living on China-North Korea Border Await Calmer Times
x
Residents Living on China-North Korea Border Await Calmer Times
Residents Living on China-North Korea Border Await Calmer Times
VOA News
North Korea is demanding the withdrawal of United Nations sanctions and an end to joint U.S.-South Korean military drills before any talks with Washington can begin.

The conditions were outlined Thursday by the North's National Defense Commission, the country's top military body, and carried by the state-run Korean Central News Agency.

The statement could be seen as a possible sign Pyongyang is finally ready to consider dialogue, following weeks of threats against the U.S. and South Korea.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters Thursday the U.S. is open to " credible, authentic negotiations" but that is "going to require clear signals from the North Korean regime, signals we haven't seen so far.''

A spokesperson for South Korea's foreign ministry, Cho Tai-young, on Thursday dismissed Pyongyang's conditions as "absurd."

"We again strongly urge North Korea to stop making such demands, which are hard to understand. And we also urge them to make a wise choice, as we have repeatedly said before," said Cho.

Pyongyang is upset at tough U.N. sanctions passed in response to its long-range rocket launch in December and nuclear test in February. The Defense Commission statement, which was later broadcast on state television, called the sanctions "cooked up on ridiculous grounds."

"They should take measures of retracting the U.N. Security Council's resolution on sanctions. They should bear in mind that doing so would be a token of good will towards North Korea."

The statement also criticized joint military drills between Washington and Seoul, which Pyongyang views as preparation to invade its country. It said the drills will end if the U.S. and South Korea are serious about talks, insisting that "dialogue and war cannot co-exist."

Washington, which says the drills are defensive in nature, has taken recent steps to reduce the visibility of the annual war games, out of concern that tensions on the Korean peninsula were reaching dangerous levels.

China Thursday urged North Korea to end its saber-rattling. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying also said denuclearizing the peninsula must remain a priority.

"We believe that dialogue and consultation is the only correct way to resolve matters on the Korean peninsula. The most pressing task is to step up diplomatic efforts and return as soon as possible to the correct path of dialogue and consultation. We hope for and support relevant parties improving relations through talks and appropriately resolving their issues,'' said Hua.

Meanwhile, former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell said Pyongyang is playing a very dangerous game.

"I think that North Koreans should be warned - as I have warned them when I was in government and warn them now as a private citizen - that any use of such [nuclear] weapons, or if we think that those weapons are about to be used, then the North Koreans will be held to account. And we have a capacity to destroy that regime. And I think that's what I would recommend we do if they ever use such a weapon,'' said Powell.

Powell spoke at an investment forum Thursday in Moscow.  He expressed some hope that the constant tensions may one day ease.

"I just hope that sooner or later they will realize there's a better world for the people living in North Korea. And I hope that the Chinese will do everything they can to move the North Koreans to that conclusion. So take it [North Korean threats] seriously, but he [Kim Jong-un] would be committing suicide if he ever used such a weapon, his regime would be committing suicide,'' said Powell.

North Korea last week angrily rejected talks offered by the United States and South Korea aimed at defusing tensions, calling the move a "crafty trick." U.N. Secretary Ban Ki-moon urged Pyongyang to reconsider, saying Wednesday he believed the offer is "genuine."

The North also has threatened to carry out a medium-range missile test, which has kept U.S. and South Korean forces on a heightened state of alert. Thursday's statement made no mention of the test, which U.S. officials have said could come at any time.

You May Like

For Lebanon-based Refugees, Desperation Fuels Perilous Passage

In a war that has caused an estimated three million people to flee Syria, efforts to make perilous sea journey in search of asylum expected to increase More

South African Brewer Tackles Climate Change

Mega-brewer SAB Miller sent delegates to climate summit in Peru, says it is one of many private companies taking their own steps to fight climate change More

Indonesia Reports Increase in Citizens Joining Islamic State

Officials say more than 350 of its citizens are now in Syria or Iraq to fight with Islamic State - 50 more than last month 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.
Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?i
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
December 17, 2014 11:54 AM
The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?

The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US-China Year in Review: Hong Kong to Climate Change

The United States is pushing for a code of conduct to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea as it works to improve commercial ties with Beijing. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports on a year of U.S. policy toward China from Hong Kong to climate change.
Video

Video Japanese Leader’s Election Win Raises Potential for Conflict with Neighbors

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his allies easily won a two-thirds majority in parliament Sunday, even though the country has slipped into recession under his conservative policies. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Seoul, that the prime minister’s victory will empower him to continue economic reforms but also pursue a nationalist agenda that will likely increase tensions with Japan’s neighbors.
Video

Video Nuba Mountain Families Hide in Caves to Escape Aerial Bombings

Despite ongoing peace talks between Sudan's government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, daily aerial attacks continue in South Kordofan province’s Nuba Mountains. Adam Bailes was there and reports for VOA that government forces are targeting civilian areas, rather than military positions, with their daily bombardments.

All About America

AppleAndroid