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

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology 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.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

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