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

Turbulent Transition Imperils Tunisia’s Arab Spring Gains

Critics say new anti-terrorism laws worsen Tunisia's situation while others put faith in country’s vibrant civil organizations, women’s movement More

Burundi’s Political Crisis May Become Humanitarian One

United Nations aid agencies issue warning as deadly violence sends tens of thousands fleeing More

Yemenis Adjust to Life Under Houthi Rule

Locals want warring parties to strike deal to stop bloodletting before deciding how country is governed 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.
Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threati
X
Greg Flakus
May 29, 2015 11:24 PM
Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threat

Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video New York's One World Trade Center Observatory Opens to Public

From New Jersey to Long Island, from Northern suburbs to the Atlantic Ocean, with all of New York City in-between.  That view became available to the public Friday as the One World Trade Center Observatory opened in New York -- atop the replacement for the buildings destroyed in the September 11, 2001, attacks.  VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports.
Video

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

With inter-Korean relations deteriorating over the North’s nuclear program, past military provocations and human rights abuses, many Koreans still hold out hope for eventual peaceful re-unification. VOA’s Brian Padden visited a “unification fair” held this week in Seoul, where border communities promoted the benefits of increased cooperation.
Video

Video Purple Door Coffeeshop: Changing Lives One Cup at a Time

For a quarter of his life, Kevin Persons lived on the street. Today, he is working behind the counter of an espresso bar, serving coffee and working to transition off the streets and into a home. Paul Vargas reports for VOA.
Video

Video Modular Robot Getting Closer to Reality

A robot being developed at Carnegie Mellon University has evolved into a multi-legged modular mechanical snake, able to move over rugged surfaces and explore the surroundings. Scientists say such machines could someday help in search and rescue operations. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Shanghai Hosts Big Consumer Electronics Show

Electronic gadgets are a huge success in China, judging by the first Asian Consumer Electronics Show, held this week in Shanghai. Over the course of two days, more than 20,000 visitors watched, tested and played with useful and some less-useful electronic devices exhibited by about 200 manufacturers. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.

VOA Blogs