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

South Korea Divided on Response to North’s Cyber Attack

In past five years, officials in Seoul have accused Pyongyang of hacking into banks, government websites, causing chaos and inflicting millions of dollars in damages More

Video Calm Amid Fear in Daily Life in S. Sudan’s Bentiu

Residents have been trying to regain some sense of normalcy, but planning for the future remains uncertain as fear of attacks looms More

2015 Could Be Watershed for Syria Conflict

Republican control of US Senate in January could lead to more aggressive policy against IS militants in Syria - and against regime of Bashar al-Assad 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.
Ugandan Doctors Aid Victims of Sudan's Civil Wari
X
Adam Bailes
December 22, 2014 3:45 PM
In Sudan's state of South Kordofan, the number of amputees as result of civil war is in the thousands, but few have access to sufficient medical help. Adam Bailes recently visited the area and says a small team of Ugandan doctors has been providing remote help, producing new prosthetic limbs for those in need.
Video

Video Ugandan Doctors Aid Victims of Sudan's Civil War

In Sudan's state of South Kordofan, the number of amputees as result of civil war is in the thousands, but few have access to sufficient medical help. Adam Bailes recently visited the area and says a small team of Ugandan doctors has been providing remote help, producing new prosthetic limbs for those in need.
Video

Video Jane Monheit Christmas Special

Chanteuse Jane Monheit sings the holiday classic “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” and explains why it’s her favorite song of the season.
Video

Video Calm Amid Fear in Daily Life in S. Sudan’s Town of Bentiu

Six months ago, Bentiu was a ghost town. The capital of northern Unity State, near South Sudan’s important oil fields, had changed hands several times in fighting between government forces and rebels. Calm returned in November and since then, residents of Bentiu have been trying to regain some sense of normalcy. Bentiu’s market has reopened there are plans to start school again. But fears of new attacks hang heavy, as Benno Muchler reports from Bentiu.
Video

Video US Business Groups Press for Greater Access to Cuba

President Barack Obama's decision to do all he can to ease restrictions on U.S. trade, travel and financial activities with Cuba has drawn criticism from some conservatives and Republicans. People who bring tourists to the island and farmers who want to sell more food to Cuba, however, think they can do a lot more business with Cuba. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.

All About America

AppleAndroid