News

US Lawmakers Call for Tougher Approach to North Korea

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un delivers a speech during a mass military parade in Kim Il Sung Square, April 15, 2012.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un delivers a speech during a mass military parade in Kim Il Sung Square, April 15, 2012.
Cindy Saine

A U.S. congressional panel has held a hearing called "North Korea After Kim Jong Il: Still Dangerous and Erratic." The hearing on U.S. policy towards North Korea coincides with Pyongyang's announcement that it will no longer abide by an agreement to halt testing of nuclear devices and long-range missiles after Washington canceled food aid.  

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida says the Obama administration has fallen into the same failed pattern of negotiations with North Korea, followed by betrayal by Pyongyang, that the Bush and Clinton administrations had also pursued in vain. She says the new North Korean leader, Kim Jong Un, seems to be following in his late father Kim Jong Il's footsteps, in responding to an outstretched hand by provoking the world with last Friday's failed rocket launch.

"North Korea's rhetoric should have told our negotiators all they needed to know," said Ros-Lehtinen. "The 'military first' policy of starving the people to feed the army and supply the munitions industry remains.  The South Korean Defense Ministry estimated this month that the North Koreans spent $850 million on the failed missile launch - enough to buy corn to feed the entire population for an entire year."

The lawmakers and experts present at the hearing agreed that North Korea has shown that it is indeed still dangerous and erratic.  Michael Green of the Center for Strategic and International Studies says he believes we may see a North Korean nuclear test in the future.

"So the North is clearly heading towards a nuclear weapons capability, deliverable through ballistic missiles or through country transfer, and our efforts to date have slowed but hardly deterred them from that path," said Green.

Scott Snyder of the Council on Foreign Relations says the United States has long made negotiations the cornerstone of its North Korea policy, and he believes this is a mistake.

"There is no deep harm in talking to North Korea, we can learn a lot, it is an important aspect of our diplomacy," said Snyder. "But I think the National Security Council meetings on North Korea should begin with pressure, coercion, interdiction, implementation of sanctions, and then at the end consider where the diplomatic and engagement piece fits in, and I think we have had it backwards for some time."

In response to last week's failed rocket launch, the United States canceled its offer to provide tons of food assistance to North Korea.  Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher of California says he believes Washington should not be doing this in the first place, because the North Korean government prevents the food aid from actually being distributed to North Korean citizens in many parts of the country.

"When did the United States assume the responsibility for the nutrition of the North Korean people?  I mean, this is, again, this is a looney [crazy] policy on our side," said Rohrabacher.

The expert witnesses at the hearing said they do not feel that it is a good idea to link nuclear negotiations with North Korea to food aid for the country's starving population, but agreed that Pyongyang should agree to let international relief agencies distribute the food.

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.
Calais School Offers Another Face of Europe’s Migrant Crisisi
X
Lisa Bryant
September 02, 2015 6:19 PM
Europe is facing mounting criticism over how it’s handling its biggest migration crisis since World War II. But not all Europeans believe building walls or passing repressive policies are the answer. A school for migrants in the French port city of Calais, is opening doors and building bonds across nationalities. VOA's Lisa Bryant reports.
Video

Video Calais School Offers Another Face of Europe’s Migrant Crisis

Europe is facing mounting criticism over how it’s handling its biggest migration crisis since World War II. But not all Europeans believe building walls or passing repressive policies are the answer. A school for migrants in the French port city of Calais, is opening doors and building bonds across nationalities. VOA's Lisa Bryant reports.
Video

Video Russia-Japan Relations Cool as Putin Visits China for WWII Anniversary

Russian President Vladimir Putin is in Beijing for commemorations of the 70th anniversary of China's WWII victory over Japan. Putin is expected to visit Japan later this year, but tensions between Tokyo and Moscow over islands disputed since the war, and sanctions over Ukraine, could pour cold water on the plan. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Kurdish Fighters on IS Frontline Ready for Offensive

Finger on the trigger, the Kurdish Peshmerga soldier stared across the dust at a village taken over by Islamic State extremists. The Kurdistan’s Khazir frontline, just 45 minutes from the Islamic State stronghold of Mosul. And at this point, the militants were less than two kilometers away. VOA's Sharon Behn reports.
Video

Video Yemen ‘on Brink of Disaster’ as Medical Shortages Soar

Aid agencies warn Yemen is on the brink of humanitarian disaster – with up to half a million children facing severe malnutrition, and hospitals running out of basic medicines. There are fears Yemen's civil war could escalate as the coalition led by Saudi Arabia tries to drive back Houthi rebels, who seized control of much of the country earlier this year. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Apps Helping Kenyan Businesses Stay Ahead of Counterfeiters

Counterfeit goods in Kenya cost the government as much as $1 billion each year in lost tax revenues. The fake goods also hurt entrepreneurs who find it hard to carve out a niche in the market and retain customers. But as Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi, information technology is being used to try to beat the problem.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
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 Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
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 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 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.

VOA Blogs