US: N. Korea Rocket Launch Would Make Food Aid 'Hard to Imagine'

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland (file photo)
State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland (file photo)

The United States says North Korea's planned rocket launch imperils the delivery of food aid as part of last month's agreement on nuclear inspections.  North Korea announced Friday that it will launch a satellite-carrying a long-range rocket in April.

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland says the North Korean launch would violate U.N. resolutions prohibiting the use of ballistic missile technology and counters last month's agreement to allow the International Atomic Energy Agency to again inspect  North Korean nuclear sites.

"This calls into question whether, when the DPRK entered into that agreement with us, they did so in good faith. Because at the time, we did warn them that we consider that a satellite launch of this kind would be an abrogation of that agreement,” Nuland said.

Nuland says it is a highly provocative move that makes the delivery of 240,000 tons of food aid hard to imagine. While she says the United States does not link humanitarian assistance with political issues, Washington will not deliver food aid to Pyongyang unless it is convinced that food will go to those in need.

“It's very hard to imagine that if we have a satellite launch - which would call into question their good faith and whether they keep any of the commitments that they make, that we would be able to have confidence in the monitoring arrangements that we are trying to make with them, or that the environment would be such, would be sufficiently tension-free that we could actually implement those agreements,” Nuland said.

Last month's agreement to restart nuclear inspections was the first made by the new government of Kim Jong Un, who took power following his father's death in December. It was the most apparent progress since 2009, when North Korea pulled out of an aid-for-disarmament deal with the United States, China, Russia, Japan, and South Korea.

Nuland says the Obama administration's special representative for North Korea, Glyn Davies, has spoken with his counterparts in China, Russia, Japan, and South Korea and they are all working to encourage North Korea to change course.

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon says he is seriously concerned about North Korea's planned launch and is urging Pyongyang to reconsider its decision.

The North Korean announcement says the satellite payload will be carried into orbit on an Unha-3 rocket - the latest version of a three-stage, long-range ballistic missile that intelligence sources believe is designed to eventually carry nuclear weapons.

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: John
March 17, 2012 1:46 AM
A useful opportunity for the US to save some of the taxpayers' money. Bribing North Korea obviously does not work.

by: hadagutful
March 16, 2012 3:46 PM
this country lives on blackmail that is give us food or we will launch (something). The comparsion is that of the mafia. DO we bend for the mafia? Should we continually be placed in a position where we can be chastised or ridiculed for not supplying aid?

Let them support themselves and see what happens. Where is their good friend China in all of this? Silent as a sleeping bear.

by: Gerry
March 16, 2012 2:51 PM
What a load of bologna this proclamation by the US State Department is! The US and all her allies put satellites into space on a regular basis, and so do Russia and China. No big deal. They spy on us and we spy on them. Where do you suppose a country that has barely the technology to manufacture light bulbs gets the technology to put a satellite in space? Hmmm ... hello China.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?i
Carol Pearson
November 29, 2015 1:23 PM
The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?

The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video Political Motives Seen Behind Cancelled Cambodian Water Festival

For the fourth time in the five years since more than 350 people were killed in a stampede at Cambodia’s annual water festival, authorities canceled the event this year. Officials blamed environmental reasons as the cause, but many see it as fallout from rising political tensions with a fresh wave of ruling party intimidation against the opposition. David Boyle and Kimlong Meng report from Phnom Penh.

Video African Circus Gives At-Risk Youth a 2nd Chance

Ethiopia hosted the first African Circus Arts Festival this past weekend with performers from seven different African countries. Most of the performers are youngsters coming form challenging backgrounds who say the circus gave them a second chance.

Video US Lawmakers Brace for End-of-Year Battles

U.S. lawmakers are returning to Washington for Congress’ final working weeks of the year. And, as VOA's Michael Bowman reports, a full slate of legislative business awaits them, from keeping the federal government open to resolving a battle with the White House over the admittance of Syrian refugees.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video After Terrorist Attacks, Support for Refugees Fades

The terrorists who killed and injured almost 500 people around Paris this month are mostly French or Belgian nationals. But at least two apparently took advantage of Europe’s migrant crisis to sneak into the region. The discovery has hardened views about legitimate refugees, including those fleeing the same extremist violence that hit the French capital. Lisa Bryant has this report for VOA from the Paris suburb of Cergy-Pontoise

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

As Thailand takes in the annual Loy Krathong festival, many ponder the country’s future and security. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continues

One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs