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

Syrian Rebels Poised for Anti-Russia Collaboration

Forty-one insurgent groups issue joint statement vowing retaliation for Russian air offensives More

Political Maneuver Revives Export-Import Bank's Chances

Parliamentary tactic gets bill out of committee, but it faces opposition in the Senate More

Beijing Warns US on S. China Sea Patrols

Warning follows news reports Thursday that US military is planning to sail warships close to artificial islands Beijing has been aggressively building More

This forum has been closed.
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.
House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdrawsi
Jim Malone
October 09, 2015 12:32 AM
The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdraws

The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video German, US Officials Investigate Volkswagen

German officials have taken steps to restore some of the reputation their car industry has lost after a recent Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal. Authorities have searched Volkswagen headquarters and other locations in an effort to identify the culprits in the creation of software that helps cheat on emission tests. Meanwhile, a group of lawmakers in Washington held a hearing to get to the bottom of the cheating strategy that was first discovered in the United States. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Why Are Gun Laws So Hard for Congress to Tackle?

Since taking office, President Barack Obama has spoken out or issued statements about 15 mass shootings. The most recent shooting, in which 10 people were killed at a community college, sparked outrage over the nation's gun laws. But changing those laws isn't as easy as many think. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.

Video Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugees

Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Iraqi-Kurdish Teachers Vow to Continue Protest

Sixteen people were injured when police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse teachers and other public employees who took to the streets in Iraq’s Kurdish north, demanding their salaries from the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG). VOA’s Dilshad Anwar, in Sulaimaniya, caught up with protesting teachers who say they have not been paid for three months. Parke Brewer narrates his report.

Video Syrian Village Community Faces Double Displacement in Lebanon

Driven by war from their village in southwestern Syria, a group of families found shelter in Lebanon, resettling en masse in a half-built university to form one of the biggest settlements of its kind in Lebanon. Three years later, however, they now face being kicked out and dispersed in a country where finding shelter as a refugee can be especially tough. John Owens has more for VOA from the city of Saida, also known as Sidon.

Video Bat Colony: Unusual Tourist Attraction in Texas

The action hero Batman might be everyone’s favorite but real bats hardly get that kind of adoration. Put more than a million of these creatures of the night together and it only evokes images of horror. Sarah Zaman visited the largest urban bat colony in North America to see just how well bat and human get along with each other.

Video Device Shows Promise of Stopping Motion Sickness

It’s a sickening feeling — the dizziness, nausea and vomiting that comes with motion sickness. But a device now being developed could stop motion sickness by suppressing certain signals in the brain. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

VOA Blogs