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

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

Obama: Alaskans Feel Signs of Climate Change

They're seeing bigger storm surges as sea ice melts, more wildfires, erosion of glaciers, shorelines More

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age 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.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs