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
by: Reppin2
March 21, 2012 6:38 AM
Wow. N Korea's leaders are more delusional than ever. lol

by: Darren
March 21, 2012 6:15 AM
The United States should not give North Korea a single grain of rice as long as it continues to build nuclear weapons and threaten its neighbors!!

by: Joe
March 21, 2012 5:18 AM
No need to take armies, navy's, or air forces into North Korea. It is truly sad, but all it would really take is for a group of scientists to design the right disease that rats could carry into North Korea. Tell South Korea, China, and Russia to vaccinate their citizens against this designer disease and watch as the North Korean people perish. Before you know it - North Korea can become part of a unified Korea, run by the South Korean government.
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.
Amnesty Accuses Saudi Coalition of ‘War Crimes’ in Yemeni
Henry Ridgwell
October 12, 2015 4:03 PM
The human rights group Amnesty International has accused the Saudi-led coalition of war crimes in airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen. Henry Ridgwell reports the group says hundreds of civilians have been killed in strikes on residential areas.

Video Amnesty Accuses Saudi Coalition of ‘War Crimes’ in Yemen

The human rights group Amnesty International has accused the Saudi-led coalition of war crimes in airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen. Henry Ridgwell reports the group says hundreds of civilians have been killed in strikes on residential areas.

Video No Resolution in Sight to US House Speaker Drama

Uncertainty grips the U.S. Congress, where no consensus replacement has emerged to succeed Republican House Speaker John Boehner after his surprise resignation announcement. Half of Congress is effectively leaderless weeks before America risks defaulting on its national debt and enduring another partial government shutdown.

Video New Art Exhibit Focuses on Hope

Out of struggle and despair often comes hope. That idea is behind a new art exhibit at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland. "The Big Hope Show" features 25 artists, some of whom overcame trauma and loss. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Columbus Day Still Generates Controversy as US Holiday

The second Monday of October is Columbus Day in the United States, honoring explorer Christopher Columbus and his discovery of the Americas. The achievement is a source of pride for many, but for some the holiday is marked by controversy. Adrianna Zhang has more.

Video Anger Simmers as Turks Begin to Bury Blast Victims

The Turkish army carried out new air strikes on Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) targets on Sunday, a day after the banned group announced a unilateral cease fire. The air raids apparently are in retaliation for the Saturday bombing in Turkey's capital Ankara that killed at least 95 people and wounded more than 200 others. But as Zlatica Hoke reports, there are suspicions that Islamic State is involved.

Video Bombings a Sign of Turkey’s Deep Troubles

Turkey has begun a three-day period of mourning following Saturday’s bomb attacks in the capital, Ankara, that killed nearly 100 people. With contentious parliamentary elections three weeks away, the attacks highlight the challenges Turkey is facing as it struggles with ethnic friction, an ongoing migrant crisis, and growing tensions with Russia. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Afghanistan’s Progress Aided by US Academic Center

Recent combat in Afghanistan has shifted world attention back to the central Asian nation’s continuing civil war and economic challenges. But, while there are many vexing problems facing Afghanistan’s government and people, a group of academics in Omaha, Nebraska has kept a strong faith in the nation’s future through programs to improve education. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Omaha, Nebraska.

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 In 'He Named Me Malala,' Guggenheim Finds Normal in Extraordinary

Davis Guggenheim’s documentary "He Named Me Malala" offers a probing look into the life of 18-year-old Malala Yousafsai, the Pakistani teenager who, in 2012, was shot in the head by the Taliban for standing up for her right to education in her hometown in Pakistan's Swat Valley. Guggenheim shows how, since then, Malala has become a symbol not as a victim of brutal violence, but as an advocate for girls’ education throughout the world. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.

Video Paintable Solar Cells May Someday Replace Silicon-Based Panels

Solar panels today are still factory-manufactured, with the use of some highly toxic substances such as cadmium chloride. But a researcher at St. Mary’s College, Maryland, says we are close to being able to create solar panels by painting them on a suitable surface, using nontoxic solutions. VOA’s George Putic reports.

VOA Blogs