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

Could Nemtsov Threaten Putin in Death as in Life?

Dynamic and debonair opposition leader had supported liberal economic reforms, criticized Russian president's aggression in Ukraine More

Oil Smuggling Highlights Challenges in Shutting Down IS Finances

Pentagon spokesman says Islamic State 'certainly continues to get revenue from the oil industry black market' but that airstrikes have made a dent More

India Focuses on Infrastructure, Investment to Propel Economy

Government expects economy to grow at 8 to 8.5 percent in next fiscal year 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.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More