News / Asia

US Lawmakers Seek End to 'Cycle of North Korean Provocations'

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Sen. John Kerry (file photo)
Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Sen. John Kerry (file photo)
William Ide

U.S. lawmakers are urging the Obama administration to find new ways to persuade North Korea to change its behavior and end what they say is a "cycle of provocation."  Talks on ending North Korea's nuclear weapons program have been stalled for more than two years and many analysts say that last year was the most dangerous on the Korean Peninsula since the Korean War.

During the past year, Pyongyang has launched two military attacks on South Korea - sinking a military ship last March and shelling a South Korean island.  It also revealed a uranium enrichment program that could provide North Korea with material for nuclear weapons.

The chairman of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Democrat John Kerry of Connecticut, says the risks of maintaining the status quo  toward North Korea are grave.

"North Korea is simply going to build more nuclear weapons and missiles," said Kerry. "It may well export nuclear technology, even fissile material.  And the next violation of the armistice could easily escalate into wider hostilities that threaten U.S. allies and interests."

Kerry spoke Tuesday during a Foreign Relations Committee hearing on North Korea.  He said that although the world is focused on events sweeping the Arab world or their impact on U.S. foreign policy, North Korea is also a pressing concern.

"So far, international initiatives have not stabilized the situation, much less brought about a change of course in North Korea," he said.

The Ranking Republican on the Foreign Relations Committee, Richard Lugar of Indiana, said that although the Obama administration has worked closely with Seoul to respond to Pyongyang's provocations, its strategy for ending North Korea's nuclear weapons program is unclear.

Lugar said more needs to be done to stop North Korean nuclear proliferation.

"The risk that sensitive nuclear technology, weapons components or even weapons themselves might be transferred out of North Korea for geopolitical objectives or personal profit is an equal if not greater threat than North Korea's missile capability," said Lugar.

Lugar noted that North Korea has a network of more than 200 companies supporting it in its efforts to obtain military technologies and that reports suggest the network is being used to transfer nuclear technology.

The top U.S. diplomat for East Asia, Kurt Campbell, and U.S. Special Envoy to North Korea Stephen Bosworth echoed the committee's concern about North Korean nuclear proliferation.

Campbell testified that although more needs to be done, the United States has had some successes in curbing North Korean proliferation.

"In the last year, a number of states who had previously never been involved in, shall we say interdicting, and helping us with the transfer of illicit cargos from North Korea to sites either in Asia or in the Middle East have assisted us in turning back shipments," said Campbell.

But Bosworth and Campbell stressed that for talks with North Korea to resume, Pyongyang needs first show its commitment to improving relations with Seoul, take irreversible steps to denuclearize and end its provocations.

Bosworth told the senate panel that the United States is ready to talk with North Korea and is considering resuming food aid, following reports that a severe food shortage there could lead to malnutrition and starvation.

"We do separate humanitarian assistance from political issues," said Bosworth. "But we provide food aid when we see a perceived need and in a situation in which we can monitor how the food aid is used, who are the recipients of that food aid and does it go to the people to whom we intend it."

The U.S. government suspended food aid to North Korea in 2009, after Pyongyang expelled monitors who were there to ensure the food reached those who needed it most.  Pyongyang is suspected of diverting foreign assistance to support its huge military force.  

You May Like

China May Be Biggest Winner From Ukraine Crisis

Missile sales, oil and gas shipments are among many areas that may drive Beijing and Moscow closer together in coming years More

Obama Faces Chaotic World, Limits of Power

Current foreign policy issues bring into focus challenges for US policymakers who are mindful of Americans' waning appetite for overseas military engagements More

SADC Meeting Lesotho Officials to Resolve Stalemate

Official says regional bloc has been engaged with leaders in Lesotho to resolve political disagreement that led to coup attempt 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.
West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015i
X
Carol Pearson
August 30, 2014 7:14 PM
A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.

AppleAndroid