News / Asia

    N. Korea’s Nuclear Test Seen as Attention-Getting Move

    FILE -  North Korean leader Kim Jong Un gestures as he watches a military parade in Pyongyang, North Korea.
    FILE - North Korean leader Kim Jong Un gestures as he watches a military parade in Pyongyang, North Korea.

    North Korea’s purported nuclear test might be an attempt to seek attention from the United States, a former U.S. envoy said.

    The announcement that the communist country successfully tested a hydrogen bomb came as a surprise, prompting analysts to wonder what might have motivated Pyongyang to make the provocative move. Some say internal politics might have played a role in the decision, and others cite deteriorating ties between North Korea and China, adding Pyongyang did not notify its ally of the test in advance.

    Bill Richardson, former U.S. ambassador to the U.N. who extensively dealt with North Koreans, told VOA Wednesday Pyongyang’s sudden move might be aimed at steering Washington’s attention toward it.

    Seeking attention

    “We’re still around. I know you are all worried about the Middle East, Iran and Saudi Arabia, but we still are here in Northeast Asia,” said the former ambassador, meaning that's what North Korean officials are likely thinking.

    Richardson said Pyongyang's message to Washington is this.

    “We are not going to give up our nuclear proliferation. We are not going to give up developing nuclear weapons. This is our fourth and you need to deal with us,” the envoy said.

    The former ambassador called on Washington to change its approach to Pyongyang, saying the current policy has failed to stop Pyongyang’s nuclear development.

    “Sanctions, strategic patience have not moved North Korea to stop developing their nuclear weapons,” he argued.

    Instead, Richardson called for fresh diplomatic efforts involving key members of the Six-Party Talks, multi-state nuclear talks, in what he called a “readjustment” of the policy.

    Richardson’s comments came amid criticism that the United States might have overlooked the North Korean nuclear issue while trying to resolve disputes over Iran’s nuclear development.

    Some critics noted President Barack Obama did not mention the nuclear test when he laid out U.S. foreign policy’s priorities in his highlighted State of the Union address this week.

    North Korea overlooked?

    The White House dismissed the criticism, saying the North Korean nuclear issue is a “huge priority” to the president.

    “If there’s one thing I know about the leader of North Korea, he likes attention” Ben Rhodes, Obama’s deputy national security adviser, told reporters in reference to Obama’s speech.

    “We didn’t particularly feel compelled to give him that attention,” added Rhodes.

    Despite North Korea’s apparent unwillingness to give up nuclear weapons, there are still incentives for Pyongyang to negotiate away the weapons, according to Richardson.

    “I do believe they have an incentive. I think North Korea realistically has to find ways to improve their economic life,” the envoy said.

    You May Like

    Video Democrats Clinton, Kaine Offer 'Very Different Vision' Than Trump

    In a jab at Trump, Clinton says her team wants to 'build bridges, not walls'; Obama Hails Kaine's record; Trump calls Kaine a 'job-killer'

    Turkey Wants Pakistan to Close Down institutions, Businesses Linked to Gulen

    Thousands of Pakistani students are enrolled in Gulen's commercial network of around two dozen institutions operating in Pakistan for over two decades

    AU Passport A Work in Progress

    Who will get the passport and what the benefits are still need to be worked out

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    by: meanbill from: USA
    January 15, 2016 11:00 AM
    When the US should be concentrating on stopping and defeating the real life terrorist attacks that are happening with regularity everywhere, and concentrating on how they are going to stop and defeat the real life ISIL terrorist army (that's become a world power) and their Caliphate, the US continues to make up these crazy psychotic paranoid schizophrenic suppositions on what Kim Jong Un of North Korea is trying to do now or in the future?

    It's no wonder the terrorists have become a real world power, when the US military is spreading all their military resources against their delusional enemies that will never attack America, while they continue to ignore the real life threat of the terrorists who are attacking America and their allies? .. It's down right crazy? .. You'd think, the US would concentrate most all their military resources against the terrorists, wouldn't you? .. [instead of against countries that'll never attack them?]

    by: Mark from: Virginia
    January 14, 2016 9:03 PM
    Kim Jong un.... the Kardashians of the Far East. No matter how hard you try to ignore them (or the fat Boy King of the North) they always have to remind everyone they are still there.

    Well, what else can you expect from a millennial...?
    In Response

    by: baba Voenga from: underground
    January 15, 2016 8:24 AM
    Americans.... the Kardashians of all over the world. No matter how hard you try to ignore them (or the Mark from: Virginia) they always have to remind everyone they are still there and will fly on their strategic bomber B-52 to scare fat King of the North.
    In Response

    by: eusebia gementiza from: philippines
    January 14, 2016 10:52 PM
    who is interested to Korea, discriminate Philippine last economic forum held in their country, after Korean refugee occupy in the Philippine brought their own product exchange from Korea to Philippine market

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movementi
    July 22, 2016 11:49 AM
    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora