News / Asia

US Calls North Korean Walkout 'Missed Opportunity'

South Korean Colonel Moon Sang-gyun (l) shakes hands with his North Korean counterpart Ri Son-kwon before their talks at the south side of the truce village of Panmunjom in Paju, north of Seoul, February 9, 2011
South Korean Colonel Moon Sang-gyun (l) shakes hands with his North Korean counterpart Ri Son-kwon before their talks at the south side of the truce village of Panmunjom in Paju, north of Seoul, February 9, 2011
TEXT SIZE - +

The United States Wednesday called North Korea’s walkout of military talks with the South Koreans a "missed opportunity" for improving the political climate in the region. But U.S. officials say the outcome was not necessarily a collapse of dialogue efforts.

The breakdown of the military talks is being noted here with disappointment but not dismay, with State Department officials suggesting it may take multiple meetings to get a meaningful north-south dialogue going.

A two-day meeting of North and South Korean military officers at the Panmunjom border village ended with a North Korean walkout and no agreement on a date for a further meeting.

A South Korean official said the talks, the first of their kind in many months, had collapsed. But briefing reporters here, State Department Spokesman P.J. Crowley suggested it is too soon to declare an end to efforts to repair strained inter-Korean relations.

He said it was a lost chance by Pyongyang to show sincerity by, among other things, taking responsibility for the sinking of the South Korean warship Cheonan last year and the lethal shelling of South Korea’s Yeonpyeong island in November.

"We certainly do believe that North Korea has to take responsibility for its recent actions, whether it’s  the sinking of the Cheonan, the shelling of Yeonpyeong, and then demonstrate that it is going to take affirmative steps to reduce tensions in the Korean Peninsula," said P.J. Crowley. "This was an opportunity to do that, and clearly having North Korea walking out puts it in the category of a missed opportunity."

North Korea had recently made conciliatory gestures toward the Seoul government, giving rise to hopes the military contacts might be a springboard to the resumption of Chinese-sponsored six-party talks to end Pyongyang’s nuclear program.

A senior State Department official who spoke to reporters said U.S. analysts were not surprised by the  outcome in Panmunjom, and that it may require further meetings before, as he put it, "we get this dialogue to where it needs to be"

North Korea was the main issue at State Department talks Wednesday involving Japanese Foreign Ministry Director-General Shinsuke Sugiyama and U.S. officials including Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs and Kurt Campbell, and North Korea envoy Stephen Bosworth.

In Seoul, the U.S. special envoy for North Korean human rights issues Robert King met with South Korean National Security Adviser Chun Yung-Wu and senior legislators.

A South Korean newspaper said North Korea had asked King, at New York meeting last month, for a resumption of U.S. food aid, and had pledged to again allow international monitors to assure its delivery to needy North Koreans.

Asked about the report, Spokesman Crowley said there were no current plans to restart the aid program, suspended two years ago, and that North Korea is aware of U.S. terms for a resumption.

You May Like

Multimedia Relatives of South Korean Ferry Victims Fire at Authorities

46 people are confirmed dead, but some 250 remain trapped inside sunken ferry More

War Legacy Haunts Vietnam, US Relations

$84 million project aims to clean up soil contaminated by Agent Orange More

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends 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.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid