North Korea Issues Warning About South's Nuclear Summit

Police officers talk during an anti-terrorism drill at a subway station in Seoul March 20, 2012, which was held in a preparation for the Seoul Nuclear Security Summit from March 26-27.
Police officers talk during an anti-terrorism drill at a subway station in Seoul March 20, 2012, which was held in a preparation for the Seoul Nuclear Security Summit from March 26-27.

North Korea is warning world leaders not to raise the issue of its nuclear weapons during a summit next week in South Korea. The reclusive country says it will consider as a "declaration of war" any statement about the North Korean issue at the Nuclear Security Summit.

At a time when tensions are again quickly escalating on the Korean peninsula, Seoul is about to host dozens of top-level foreign dignitaries - including the presidents of the United State and China.

The Nuclear Security Summit is intended to make it more difficult for terrorists to get their hands on materials to make atomic weapons. But it is will be overshadowed by events just across the Demilitarized Zone.

North Korea Wednesday warned Seoul any resolution at the summit concerning its nuclear program will be a provocation “considered an act of war.”

North Korea issue unavoidable

Although North Korea is not an official topic at the summit, officials here say one-on-one leaders' meetings are certain to discuss Pyongyang's nuclear and missile programs.
Last week, North Korea said it plans to launch a satellite into orbit in mid-April. That announcement was condemned by the international community, which asserts any space launch violates a ban on North Korea utilizing ballistic missile technology.

The announcement also appears to unravel an agreement Pyongyang and Washington jointly announced just weeks ago, on February 29, in which North Korea would freeze some of its nuclear programs in exchange for food aid. Pyongyang, however, says the agreement remains in effect and it is inviting U.N. nuclear inspectors to return to the country.

'Earth observation satellite'

Leon Sigal, who formerly advised the U.S. government on strategy toward North Korea, says it is difficult to imagine future diplomacy between the United States and North Korea if Pyongyang goes ahead with its so-called earth observation satellite launch.

"A rocket launch would be confidence-destroying. Unless it is suspended, fruitful dialogue will come to an end, I’m sorry to say," said Sigal, who was speaking Wednesday at an international conference about Northeast Asia nuclear issues.

South Korean Unification Minister Yu Woo-ik, in a speech Wednesday at a separate international conference here said a launch - which would be North Korea's third attempt - is senseless in a country whose people are hungry and repressed.

Grave provocation

South Korea's point man on North Korea says it would be a grave provocation and a serious security threat to South Korea and the international community.

Japan's government is vowing to take “all possible measures to ensure that people and property are safe” - the latest indication it might try to shoot down the North Korean rocket if it soars over Japanese territory, as indicated by its planned trajectory.

Analysts say North Korea likely has several nuclear weapons but has yet to perfect the technology to make them small enough to place atop a missile. Nor has it demonstrated it can successfully launch such a payload.

Diplomacy is key

Stanford University research professor Siegfried Hecker has visited North Korea seven times. The North Koreans in 2010 revealed to him a facility to enrich weapons-grade uranium.
At Wednesday's regional nuclear issues conference, Hecker said re-engagement and diplomacy with Pyongyang is the only way to try to persuade the North Koreans to give up their nuclear ambitions.

"We should be able to convince them that it’s a much greater liability than it is an asset. But to do that they have to have a sense of security.  So there’s a lot of work to be done. And so, we must make the price of keeping the weapons greater than the benefits of giving them up," said Hecker.

De-nuclearization vs. freeze

Speaking at the same conference, the Asia Foundation's Peter Beck argued for a "reality check" in regards to North Korea's nuclear development.

"We can’t de-nuclearize North Korea," he said. "The best we can do is a freeze. And, that’s frankly unacceptable to Washington, to Seoul, certainly for Tokyo, but that is the reality we face. North Korea attaches tremendous meaning and value to being a nuclear power. It’s increasingly tied to their identity."

North Korea watchers are also warning of the likelihood that Pyongyang will soon follow its so-called space launch attempt with a third underground test of a nuclear device.

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments page of 2
March 25, 2012 7:17 AM

by: HY Kwon
March 23, 2012 5:27 PM
most of south koreans think that reunification is almost impossible due to the big gap between two countries on many aspects. but still we dont want war because we've already seen the dreadful sights of war. we want a peaceful reunification (at least the south koreans)

by: Akbar Ali
March 22, 2012 8:47 AM
To show the example of peace and disarment First the America and Russia should close their nuclear weaponse then they should preach the world for disarment. Becuase the bigeners of nuclear weapons are these two countries. So first they should close their nuclear activities and then pointed out the rest of the world.Other wise it is injustice.

by: william
March 22, 2012 5:25 AM
It looks like the dear nut job has passed on, I wonder what it is like to wake up in hell and be tortured by satan, President bush called him that little pigmy, But seriously NK is a proxy for china and i say to hell with them, Let them look to china for sustanance and leave the rest of the world alone!

by: Cha Cha Cohen
March 22, 2012 3:50 AM
Most of the great nations were devided in order to control and securing market for ammunitions,e.g.Korea, Vietnam, India ( to make the matter worse further division of Punjab & Bengal) etc. Mistake was made by deviding Germany in to five instead of two!

by: Cha Cha Cohen
March 22, 2012 3:28 AM
What's so angelic about the countries who got them! Many of them used it on other nation! In a safe world nobody should either possess or crave for it whether they are super or meager power!Lets call for ARMS FREE WORLD! Peace be on this scorched earth!Power is a dirty word!

by: NVO
March 21, 2012 7:50 PM
The NK Regime is a bunch of Buffoons, plain and simple. Why don't you hear of all the FAKE crying anymore because of the death of the Supreme Buffoon? Had these people not put on the FAKE crying, the NK Regime would have thrown them into jail, for a BUFFOON whom is in Hades, then will be in Gehenna.

by: Joe
March 21, 2012 11:32 AM
"Yes Joe lets kill 8 million+ people just because their leader is insane....."

Never said I approved of the idea - but this is how military leaders think. In the meantime, N. Korea's leader is doing a pretty good job of doing the same thing.

by: william
March 21, 2012 10:25 AM
China would not allow that to happen, The only reason the north korean regime still survives is it is a proxy that china commands and is used to throw a monkey wrench into any hopes for regional peace and to present defiance against the west.

by: mark
March 21, 2012 6:40 AM
and thats how a zombie outbreak would start. :)
Comments page of 2

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?i
Carol Pearson
November 29, 2015 1:23 PM
The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?

The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video Political Motives Seen Behind Cancelled Cambodian Water Festival

For the fourth time in the five years since more than 350 people were killed in a stampede at Cambodia’s annual water festival, authorities canceled the event this year. Officials blamed environmental reasons as the cause, but many see it as fallout from rising political tensions with a fresh wave of ruling party intimidation against the opposition. David Boyle and Kimlong Meng report from Phnom Penh.

Video African Circus Gives At-Risk Youth a 2nd Chance

Ethiopia hosted the first African Circus Arts Festival this past weekend with performers from seven different African countries. Most of the performers are youngsters coming form challenging backgrounds who say the circus gave them a second chance.

Video US Lawmakers Brace for End-of-Year Battles

U.S. lawmakers are returning to Washington for Congress’ final working weeks of the year. And, as VOA's Michael Bowman reports, a full slate of legislative business awaits them, from keeping the federal government open to resolving a battle with the White House over the admittance of Syrian refugees.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video After Terrorist Attacks, Support for Refugees Fades

The terrorists who killed and injured almost 500 people around Paris this month are mostly French or Belgian nationals. But at least two apparently took advantage of Europe’s migrant crisis to sneak into the region. The discovery has hardened views about legitimate refugees, including those fleeing the same extremist violence that hit the French capital. Lisa Bryant has this report for VOA from the Paris suburb of Cergy-Pontoise

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

As Thailand takes in the annual Loy Krathong festival, many ponder the country’s future and security. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continues

One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs