News / Asia

Obama Closely Monitoring North Korea Situation

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney (file photo)
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney (file photo)

U.S. President Barack Obama, his advisers and other officials in his administration are closely monitoring the situation in North Korea, following the death of the country's leader Kim Jong Il.

Press Secretary Jay Carney responded to at least seven questions from reporters about North Korea on Monday, including what the president has been doing to follow the situation and what consultations he has had about it.

Carney said that after hearing late Sunday from his chief of staff about Kim's death, President Obama telephoned South Korea's President Lee Myung Bak.

Mr. Obama has received regular briefings.  Carney noted that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and other officials have been in touch with their counterparts in South Korea, and with officials in Russia, China and Japan - the other members of the stalled six-party talks with North Korea.

Carney said there are no additional concerns about the nuclear security situation on the Korean peninsula in the aftermath of Kim Jong Il's death, adding that Washington will continue to press Pyongyang to meet its international obligations.

Carney had this response when asked whether the political transition underway in Pyongyang posed greater instability or a new diplomatic opening.

"I think it is much too early to make any kind of judgment like that.  This is a period where North Korea is in a period of national mourning and we hope that the new North Korean leadership will take the steps necessary to support peace, prosperity and a better future for the North Korean people - including as I say acting on its commitments to de-nuclearization," Carney said.

Saying that U.S. concerns about North Korea are not about personalities but about "the actions of the government," Carney added that it would be premature to make assessments of North Korea's new leadership or the chance of resuming the six-party talks.

Reporters pressed the president's spokesman on the status of what news reports say was an expected U.S. announcement of food aid to North Korea after months of intense negotiations with Pyongyang.  Carney declined to confirm reports that Washington was on the verge of announcing a food aid deal with Pyongyang.  The United States, he said, continues to insist on adequate monitoring to ensure that aid is not diverted from those in need in North Korea.

The State Department says consultations on the food aid issue have been postponed because of Kim Jong Il's death, adding that no decision on the subject has been made.

You May Like

Multimedia US Defense Secretary: Iraqi Forces Lack 'Will to Fight'

Ash Carter criticizes Iraq's reaction to Islamic State; National Security Advisor Susan Rice echoed Carter's concerns in an interview on CBS More

Boko Haram Surrounds Havens With Land Mines

Chad and Cameroon say huge numbers of land mines planted by Boko Haram fighters along Cameroon's border with Nigeria are a danger to people, livestock and soldiers More

Women Peace Activists Cross Korean DMZ

Governments of Koreas give international delegation of women peace activists permission to pass through heavily fortified border, but some critics say symbolic crossing only benefits Pyongyang 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.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs