News / Asia

N. Korea to US: No Talks Without Removal of Sanctions

South Korean soldiers prepare 155 mm howitzers during their military exercise in the border city between two Koreas, Paju, north of Seoul, South Korea, April 18, 2013.
South Korean soldiers prepare 155 mm howitzers during their military exercise in the border city between two Koreas, Paju, north of Seoul, South Korea, April 18, 2013.
VOA News
North Korea is demanding the withdrawal of U.N. sanctions and an end to joint U.S.-South Korean military drills before 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 United States and South Korea.

Tensions Rising on Korean Peninsula

  • February 12: North Korea carries out third nuclear test
  • March 27: North Korea cuts military hotline with South Korea
  • March 28: U.S. B-2 bombers fly over Korean peninsula
  • March 30: North Korea says it has entered a "state of war" with South Korea
  • April 3: North Korea blocks South Korean workers from Kaesong
  • April 4: North Korea moves a missile to its east coast
  • April 9: North Korea urges foreigners to leave the South.  The U.S. and South Korea raise alert level
  • April 14: US Secretary of State John Kerry offers talks with Pyongyang if it moves to scrap nuclear weapons
  • April 16: North Korea issues threats after anti-Pyongyang protests in Seoul
  • April 29: North Korea holds back seven South Koreans at Kaesong
  • April 30: North Korea sentences American to 15 years hard labor for hostile acts
  • May 20: North Korea fires projectiles for a consecutive third day
  • May 24: North Korean envoy wraps up China visit for talks on Korean tensions
  • June 7: South Korea accepts Pyongyang's offer of talks on Kaesong and other issues
White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters the United States is open to "credible, authentic negotiations," but that is "going to require clear signals from the North Korean regime, signals we have not seen so far.''

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry told lawmakers in Washington Pyongyang's statement seems to be a start, of sorts.

"I am prepared to look at that as at least a beginning gambit," said Kerry. "Not acceptable, obviously, and we have to go further."

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

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

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," said the statement.

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," said Chunying. "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.''

Meanwhile, former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell says 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," he said. "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.''  

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 has also 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

IS Militants Release 49 Turkish Hostages

Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency reports that no ransom was paid and no conditions accepted for the hostages' release; few details of the release are known More

Photogallery IS Attacks Send Thousands of Syrian Kurds Fleeing to Turkey

Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says more than 300 Kurdish fighters crossed into Syria from Turkey to defend a Kurdish area from attack by the Islamic militants More

Video Sierra Leone's Ebola Lockdown Continues

Thousands of health workers are going door to door in the West African country of 6 million, informing people of how to avoid Ebola, handing out soap 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.
Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’i
X
Jeff Seldin
September 20, 2014 10:28 PM
Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid