News / Asia

US Cautious about North Korean Commitments to Richardson

New Mexico State Governor Bill Richardson of the US (left) is welcomed by an unidentified North Korean official upon his arrival at Pyongyang Airport, Dec 16, 2010
New Mexico State Governor Bill Richardson of the US (left) is welcomed by an unidentified North Korean official upon his arrival at Pyongyang Airport, Dec 16, 2010

The United States took a cautious approach on Monday to North Korean nuclear and security concessions reportedly made to visiting New Mexico state governor Bill Richardson.  The State Department says it wants to see tangible steps to back up offers to the former U.S. cabinet official.

U.S. officials are relieved that Pyongyang did not follow through on its threats to respond violently to weekend military exercises by South Korea. But they say it remains to be seen whether conciliatory gestures to Richardson will be carried out.

The New Mexico governor, who has been a U.S. diplomatic troubleshooter several times over the years, helped defuse the confrontation between the two Koreas over the exercises, and said in Pyongyang that North Korea made additional offers to his team to ease tensions.

Richardson said he was told that North Korea is willing to give U.N. monitors access to its newly-disclosed uranium enrichment facility, set up a new "hot line" communications link with the South Korean military, and discuss the creation of a joint military commission with South Korea and the United States to prevent conflicts in disputed areas of the Yellow Sea.

At a news briefing, State Department Spokesman P.J. Crowley declined substantive comment on the offer, pending a briefing from Richardson. Crowley said North Korea "talks a great game" but that the real issue is what authorities there do.

"The big 'if' is 'if implemented,'" said Crowley. "We've seen a string of broken promises by North Korea going back many, many, years. As we've said all along, we'll be guided by what North Korea does, not by what North Korea says it might do under certain circumstances. Certainly, we want to see North Korea live up to its international obligations."

Crowley said that if Pyongyang wants to re-admit International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors who were expelled in 2009 and open up its nuclear facilities, it "certainly would be a positive step," but that the key is following through.

Although Richardson made the trip as a private citizen, a senior official here said U.S. officials were in telephone contact with him in Pyongyang during the hours leading up to North Korea's decision on Sunday not to retaliate after the South Korean exercises.

Before Sunday, Pyongyang had said it was ready to respond more fiercely to the off-shore exercise than it did when it shelled a South Korean island, killing four people, after a November 23rd South Korean live-fire drill.

Richardson met in Pyongyang with senior North Korean military and nuclear officials.  He said in a written statement that Pyongyang acted in a "statesmanlike manner" by not responding to the South Korean exercise.

Spokesman Crowley said the South Korean military had a right to exercise within its own borders and that there was no basis for a provocative response by Pyongyang.

You May Like

Sydney Hostage-taker Failed to Manipulate Social Media

Gunman forced captives to use personal Facebook, YouTube accounts to issue his demands; online community helped flag messages, urged others not to share them More

UN Seeks $8.4 Billion to Help War-Hit Syrians

Effort aimed at helping Syrians displaced within their own country and those who've fled to neighboring ones More

Who Are the Pakistani Taliban?

It's an umbrella group of militant organizations whose objective is enforcement of Sharia in Pakistan 'whether through peace or war' 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.
Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?i
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
December 17, 2014 11:54 AM
The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?

The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US-China Year in Review: Hong Kong to Climate Change

The United States is pushing for a code of conduct to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea as it works to improve commercial ties with Beijing. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports on a year of U.S. policy toward China from Hong Kong to climate change.
Video

Video Japanese Leader’s Election Win Raises Potential for Conflict with Neighbors

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his allies easily won a two-thirds majority in parliament Sunday, even though the country has slipped into recession under his conservative policies. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Seoul, that the prime minister’s victory will empower him to continue economic reforms but also pursue a nationalist agenda that will likely increase tensions with Japan’s neighbors.
Video

Video Nuba Mountain Families Hide in Caves to Escape Aerial Bombings

Despite ongoing peace talks between Sudan's government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, daily aerial attacks continue in South Kordofan province’s Nuba Mountains. Adam Bailes was there and reports for VOA that government forces are targeting civilian areas, rather than military positions, with their daily bombardments.

All About America

AppleAndroid