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

Video British Fighters on Frontline of Islamic State Information War

It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for Islamic State alongside other foreign jihadists More

Pakistan's Political Turmoil Again Shines Spotlight on Military

Thousands of protesters calling for PM Sharif to step down continue protests in front of parliament, as critics fear political impasse could spur another military coup More

Photogallery Ebola Quarantines Spark Anxiety in Liberian Capital

Food prices rise sharply as residents attempting purchases clash with security forces, leaving one person dead 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.
Native Bees May Help Save Cropsi
X
Deborah Block
August 22, 2014 12:23 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video Native Bees May Help Save Crops

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video US Defense Officials Plan for Long-Term Strategy to Contain Islamic State

U.S. defense officials say American air strikes in Iraq have helped deter Islamic State militants for the time being, but that a broad international effort is needed to defeat the extremists permanently. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Thursday that the group formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, is better organized, and financially and militarily stronger than any other known terrorist group. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug-Resistant Malaria Spreads in Southeast Asia

On Thailand’s border with Myanmar, also known as Burma, a malaria research and treatment clinic is stepping up efforts to eliminate a drug-resistant form of the parasite - before it spreads abroad. Steve Sandford reports from Mae Sot, Thailand.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid