News / Asia

US to Hold 'Exploratory' Talks With North Korea in New York

Kim Kye Gwan, first vice foreign minister of North Korea, arrives at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York,  July 26, 2011
Kim Kye Gwan, first vice foreign minister of North Korea, arrives at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, July 26, 2011

Senior U.S. and North Korean Diplomats meet in New York Thursday for what the State Department calls “exploratory” talks on Pyongyang’s willingness to resume negotiations over its nuclear program. The talks follow a meeting between North and South Korean negotiators last week on the sidelines of the ASEAN Regional Forum in Bali, Indonesia. .

The meetings at the U.S. mission to the United Nations are expected to extend into Friday, and the Obama administration says it will use the “exploratory talks” to determine if Pyongyang is serious about living up to nuclear obligations.

North Korea agreed in principle in 2005 to scrap its nuclear program, including a presumed small arsenal of nuclear weapons, in return for aid and diplomatic benefits from other countries in Chinese sponsored six-party negotiations.

But the negotiations broke off in 2008 and relations between Pyongyang and Seoul spiraled downward last year amid North Korea’s alleged sinking of a South Korean warship and shelling of a South Korean island.

The United States issued an invitation for the New York meeting after nuclear negotiators of the two Koreas had what both sides said was a constructive meeting in Bali.

State Department Deputy Spokesman Mark Toner says the New York meeting is a logical next step.

“We’ve said very clearly for a long time that we were first looking for improved dialogue between north and south," said Toner. "That was one of the initial steps that we wanted to see take place, and in fact when that meeting did take place in Bali, it was a constructive meeting. And so we felt that the logical next step was to have this exploratory meeting, before we take any more steps, to judge how North Korea is approaching this.”

Toner said U.S. special envoy for North Korea Stephen Bosworth will lead an inter-agency team at the New York meeting.

The North Korea side will be led by Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kae-Gwan. It will be the highest-level U.S.-North Korean encounter since a Pyongyang visit by Bosworth at the end of 2009.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said late last week in Bali the meeting will probe whether Pyongyang is ready to take “concrete and irreversible” steps toward de-nuclearization.

She said while open to talks, the United States does not intend to reward the north for returning to the table and it cannot expect new benefits for steps it has already agreed to take.

Korea policy experts in Washington say the engagement with North Korea, while worthwhile, is unlikely to yield a breakthrough such as an early resumption of the six-party talks.

Bruce Klingner, Senior Research Fellow for Northeast Asia at the Heritage Foundation, says refusing to talk to Pyongyang would be naïve, though it may have no intention of giving up its nuclear program.

“There are very few experts who actually believe that and I’m very skeptical," said Klingner. "In a way, if you think of it from North Korea’s point of view, it wouldn’t make sense to give up their nuclear weapons because it not only provides some military benefits, but in a way it make them relevant. Without nuclear  weapons, it would be easier to ignore North Korea.”

Nonetheless Klingner, a former U.S. intelligence official, said a combination of incentives and sanctions might still change Pyongyang’s mindset and “cost-benefit analysis” about the nuclear program.

Klingner’s sense of caution about the New York talks is shared by Jonathan Pollack, a Senior Foreign Policy Fellow at the Brookings Institution, who says there is no evidence Pyongyang feels compelled to bargain away its nuclear program.

The Brookings expert says North Korea may still entertain hope that it can have a direct dialogue with the United States at the expense of South Korea while deferring disarmament steps. If that is the case, Pollack says, it will come away disappointed.  

“The North Koreans are trying to see if yet again, they can reach some kind of agreement with the United States that defers consideration of the status of their programs," said Pollack. "I would anticipate in this context that they may broach yet again the idea of a peace agreement with the United States to replace the [1953 Korean War] armistice. But this is something that the U.S. is not going to entertain as a stand-alone action apart from South Korea. We simply will not.”

State Department Spokesman Toner stressed repeatedly Wednesday that the U.S. side will closely coordinate its approach with South Korea. He said North Korea’s pending request for new U.S. food aid is not part of the New York agenda.

The North Korean nuclear issue: 1985 - 2011

You May Like

Mugabe Dismisses Male-Female Equality

'It is not possible that women can be at par with men' incoming African Union president declares on eve of summit More

Somali Terror Suspect's Light Sentence Raises Questions

Abdullahi Yusuf, 18, could have spent 15 years in prison but judge instead sentenced him to a halfway house, and a program to try to integrate him back into the community More

Video Kobani Ravaged Following Kurdish Ouster of IS Militants

Even so, hundreds of refugees sheltering in Turkey seek to return; Kurdish forces hold some back, saying fighting continues 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.
Groundbreaking Hand-Painted Documentary About Van Gogh in Productioni
X
George Putic
January 29, 2015 9:43 PM
The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Groundbreaking Hand-Painted Documentary About Van Gogh in Production

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Web

Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Freedom on Decline Worldwide, Report Says

The state of global freedom declined for the ninth consecutive year in 2014, according to global watchdog Freedom House's annual report released Wednesday. VOA's William Gallo has more.
Video

Video MRI Seems to Help Diagnose Prostate Cancer, Preliminary Study Shows

Just as with mammography used to detect breast cancer, there's a lot of controversy about tests used to diagnose prostate cancer. Fortunately, a new study shows doctors may now have a more reliable way to diagnose prostate cancer for high risk patients. More from VOA's Carol Pearson.
Video

Video Smartphones About to Make Leap, Carry Basic Senses

Long-distance communication contains mostly sounds and pictures - for now. But scientists in Britain say they are close to creating additions for our smartphones that will make it possible to send taste, smell and even a basic touch. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video Crowded Republican Presidential Field Off to Early Start for 2016

It seems early, but the 2016 U.S. presidential election campaign is already heating up. Though no one has officially announced a candidacy, several potential Republican contenders have been busy speaking to conservative groups about making a White House run next year. Many of the possible contenders are critical of the Obama administration’s foreign policy record. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid