News / Asia

US Rejects Link Between N. Korea Nuclear Diplomacy, Jailed American

Robert King, U.S. special envoy for North Korean human rights issues, stands in front of campaign posters of Japan's abduction issue during a meeting with Japan's Minister-in-Charge of the Abduction Issue and head of the national public safety commission Keiji Furuya (not in picture) in Tokyo August 28, 2013.
Robert King, U.S. special envoy for North Korean human rights issues, stands in front of campaign posters of Japan's abduction issue during a meeting with Japan's Minister-in-Charge of the Abduction Issue and head of the national public safety commission Keiji Furuya (not in picture) in Tokyo August 28, 2013.
Reuters
The case of a U.S. citizen jailed in North Korea is a human rights issue that has no connection to long-stalled talks over Pyongyang's nuclear weapons, the State Department said on Wednesday.
 
Robert King, U.S. special envoy for North Korean human rights issues, is slated to travel to Pyongyang on Friday. The State Department on Tuesday described his trip as a “humanitarian mission” aimed at winning the release of ailing Kenneth Bae, a Christian missionary and tour operator.
 
The release of Bae, sentenced by North Korea's Supreme Court in April to 15 years of hard labor for state subversion, would remove a big irritant in U.S. relations with Pyongyang.
 
State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf said, however, that King's trip is unrelated to international diplomacy over North Korea, which has conducted three nuclear weapons tests since 2006.
 
“I don't want to link the two in any way,” she told reporters.
 
“We have repeatedly said that separate and apart from any of the other issues we talk about with North Korea that Kenneth Bae needs to be released immediately,” added Harf.
 
Harf reiterated Washington's position that it expects North Korea to live up to a denuclearization-for-aid deal it signed in 2005 at six-party talks in Beijing.
 
Those talks involving China, Japan, the two Koreas and the United States have been frozen for nearly five years, during which time North Korea conducted three nuclear tests and a series of long-range missile launches that prompted stiff U.N. sanctions.
 
“We will continue to hold [North Korea] to those commitments and its international obligations,” said Harf.
 
“The onus is on North Korea here,” she said.
 
North Korea said in July it would not give up its nuclear deterrent until Washington ends its “hostile policy” towards Pyongyang, although it was ready to revive nuclear talks. The two countries do not have diplomatic relations and official visits between them are rare.
 
Bae, 45, was detained in November as he led a tour group through the northern region of the North Korea. The court that sentenced him said he used his tourism business to form groups aimed at overthrowing the government.
 
Family Prays for Release
 
Kenneth Bae being interviewed by Japanese pro-North Korea newspaper Choson Sinbo at a North Korean labor camp, June 26, 2013.Kenneth Bae being interviewed by Japanese pro-North Korea newspaper Choson Sinbo at a North Korean labor camp, June 26, 2013.
x
Kenneth Bae being interviewed by Japanese pro-North Korea newspaper Choson Sinbo at a North Korean labor camp, June 26, 2013.
Kenneth Bae being interviewed by Japanese pro-North Korea newspaper Choson Sinbo at a North Korean labor camp, June 26, 2013.
Bae's sister, Terri Chung, told Reuters on Aug. 10 that her brother was moved from a prison labor farm to a state hospital because he suffered from a range of health problems, including an enlarged heart and chronic diabetes.
 
Asked about King's trip, Chung said on Wednesday: “We are hoping and praying for Kenneth's release, but we are declining interviews at this time due to the uncertainty and sensitivity of the situation.”
 
The foreign ministry of Sweden, which handles U.S. interests in Pyongyang, said it understood Bae was still in the hospital, where Swedish diplomats had last visited him on Aug. 9.
 
Bill Richardson, a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations who has traveled to North Korea to retrieve detained Americans, said he was optimistic for Bae because it was unlikely King “would be going unless it looked good.”
 
Previous trips, including those by former U.S. Presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, as well as his own visits, involved “outsiders and not official representatives,” Richardson told Reuters by telephone.
 
“This time it's an official representative, which is a good sign,” he said. “Hopefully it will mean that the North Koreans will say something positive about resuming the dialog, which I believe is very much needed.” he said.

You May Like

Ferguson Grand Jury Decision Unlikely Before Monday

Tension builds over possible indictment of white police officer in shooting death of black teen More

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

President Poroshenko compares Soviet-era ‘genocide’ to current Russian-backed rebels’ fight in east More

S. Philippines Convictions Elusive 5 Years After Election-related Killings

Officials vowed to deliver justice as the nation marked the anniversary of the country's worst political massacre that left 58 dead, more than half media 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.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid