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

Photogallery Pistorius Sentenced, Taken to Prison

Pistorius, convicted of culpable homicide in shooting death of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, will likely serve about 10 months of five-year sentence, before completing it under house arrest More

UN to Aid Central Africa in Polio Vaccinations

Synchronized vaccinations will be conducted after Cameroon reports a fifth case of the wild polio virus in its territory More

WHO: Ebola Vaccine May Be in Use by Jan.

WHO assistant director Dr. Marie Paule Kieny says clinical trials of Ebola vaccines are underway or planned in Europe, US and Africa 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.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid