News / Asia

US: No Reward for North Korean for 'Bad Behavior'

South Korean Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan, left, poses with US special envoy for North Korea Stephen Bosworth during their meeting at the Foreign Ministry in Seoul 22 Nov.  2010.
South Korean Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan, left, poses with US special envoy for North Korea Stephen Bosworth during their meeting at the Foreign Ministry in Seoul 22 Nov. 2010.

The United States said Monday that North Korea will derive no benefit from world powers for the apparent uranium enrichment program it revealed to an American scientist earlier this month.  The Obama administration is consulting with parties to the stalled North Korea nuclear talks over the development.  

Officials here say U.S. concern about North Korean uranium enrichment dates back years, and that Pyongyang will not be able to use what appears to be an advanced enrichment plant to extract new international concessions.

American nuclear scientist Siegfried Hecker said late last week that on a visit to North Korea this month, he was "stunned" to be shown an enrichment facility that he was told had more than 1,000 centrifuges and was fully operational.

The development prompted the Obama administration to send North Korea envoy Stephen Bosworth to Asia on an urgent round of consultations.

But State Department Spokesman P.J. Crowley called the revelation to Hecker a "publicity stunt," saying there was no crisis in efforts to persuade North Korea to disarm, and that Pyongyang will not be able turn the gambit into negotiating capital.

"This reinforces our long-standing concern about North Korea's uranium enrichment activities," said P.J. Crowley. "We will not be drawn into rewarding North Korea for bad behavior.  They frequently anticipate doing something outrageous or provocative and forcing us to jump through hoops as a result.  We're not going to buy into this cycle."

North Korea agreed in principle in 2005 to give up its nuclear program in return for economic and political benefits from world powers.  But the Chinese-sponsored six-party negotiations have been stalled for two years.

Pyongyang has a small arsenal of nuclear weapons derived from plutonium from its Yongbyon reactor complex.

A uranium enrichment program could allow North Korea to build additional bombs.  But Crowley said the "brief glimpse" of the facility given to Hecker does not necessarily mean that Pyongyang has mastered the technology.

"We're going to take our time, work through the information that's available to us," he said. "Certainly this doesn't surprise us.  Going back many years, to 2002 and beyond that, we've had strong suspicions of a clandestine enrichment capability, or North Korea's pursuit of that capability.  We will review the implications of this information, and then chart a way forward with our partners."

Under a joint framework accord with the United States, North Korea pledged in 1994 to freeze its nuclear program in return for two civilian nuclear power plants.

But the United States scuttled the deal after Pyongyang officials told a visiting U.S. envoy in 2002 that they had a secret enrichment program.  North Korea later disavowed the statement.

North Korean officials told scientist Siegfried Hecker that the facility they showed him this month was to provide fuel for a civilian power plant they have under construction.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates and other senior U.S. officials say they doubt Pyongyang's expressions of peaceful intent.  They say their main concern is that North Korea might export weapons technology.

U.S. envoy Bosworth is expected to return to the United States on Wednesday, after consultations in Seoul, Tokyo and Beijing.  

You May Like

Turkey's Controversial Reform Bill Giving Investors Jitters

Homeland security reform bill will give police new powers in search, seizure, detention and arrests, while restricting the rights of suspects, their attorneys More

Audio Slideshow In Kenyan Prison, Good Grades Are Path to Freedom

Some inmates who get high marks could see their sentences commuted to non-custodial status More

'Rumble in the Jungle' Turns 40

'The Champ' knocked Foreman out to regain crown he had lost 7 years earlier when US government accused him of draft-dodging and boxing officials revoked his license 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.
Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisiai
X
Henry Ridgwell
October 30, 2014 11:39 PM
Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
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 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.

All About America

AppleAndroid