News / Asia

US N. Korea Envoy in Asia Amid Push to Revive Nuclear Talks

FILE - U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Policy Glyn Davies (C), Sept. 12, 2013.
FILE - U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Policy Glyn Davies (C), Sept. 12, 2013.
The United States special envoy to North Korea travels to Asia this week as regional powers step up efforts to restart talks on ending Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons programs. Glyn Davies, the U.S. Special Representative for North Korea arrives in China Tuesday and will later make stops in Seoul and Tokyo. But it is the envoy’s stop in China that is going to be watched closely for any signs of a breakthrough.

When Glyn Davies arrives in Beijing Tuesday it will be the second time he has met with China’s top negotiator, Wu Dawei, in the short space of less than a month.

Wu has been traveling between Pyongyang and Washington in recent weeks.  Japan, South Korea and the United States have also held trilateral talks in Washington.

The U.S. State Department was hesitant to make any predictions about the talks when Davies’ travel plans were released last week, but did add that “every discussion is an opportunity.”

North Korea analysts in China agree.

“It’s very difficult to tell what exactly will come out of Glyn Davies' visit this time. But the fact that Davies is coming shows that both China and the United States are working very closely to bring North Korea back to the diplomatic track,” said Wang Dong, a political scientist at Peking University.

North Korea pulled out of the six party-talks in 2009 and has called for their resumption with no preconditions. Washington says North Korea needs to show it is serious about abandoning its pursuit of nuclear weapons before the United States will resume negotiations.

For its part, China has been stepping up its efforts in recent months to let the North know how serious it is about sanctions and getting back to the negotiating table. 

In September, China released a list of banned export items to North Korea to make sure that United Nations sanctions were being tightly enforced following a North Korean nuclear test earlier this year.

The list was released amid reported concerns that North Korea might be accelerating its nuclear weapons programs.  At the same time, however, North Korea has been accelerating its efforts to boost economic engagement as well, particularly with China.

China is North Korea’s biggest trading partner and Beijing is keen to get Pyongyang to adopt more economic openness. Analysts say the hope is that such advances would gradually shake the North of its nuclear ambitions.

Lu Chao, a specialist on the Korean peninsula at Liaoning Academy of Social Sciences, says China’s influence, however, is limited.

Lu says that ultimately North Korea will decide whether it opens up or not. He says China wants to see more businessmen going there to invest, but from the North’s perspective it seems that Pyongyang will not open up too quickly or broadly to reform. Adding that it is still a military first regime.

Wang Dong says what the international community needs is a peaceful development strategy for North Korea to help it move beyond its insecurities and ideological constraints that keep it from developing its economy.

“North Korea has to understand the logic that they cannot eat the cake and have it too. I think this is very important. They say they want economic construction and they say they also want nuclear capability, but they have to understand there are trade-offs between the two,” said Wang Dong.

Earlier this fall, the North proposed a freeze of its nuclear and long-range ballistic missile tests in exchange for the restart of talks. The offer, while viewed by the U.S. government as a positive step, has failed to gain any traction. Pyongyang has made similar promises in the past, only to go back on them.

The U.S. State Department says that after his stop in Beijing, Davies will visit Seoul on Friday and Saturday and spend two more days in Tokyo before concluding his trip.

You May Like

Photogallery Belgian Security Measures Foreshadow New Normal for Europe

Rising threat of terrorism, disaffected Muslim populations and open borders, along with refugee, migrant crisis, are creating perfect storm for Europe, which some analysts fear continent is ill-suited to weather

Competing Claims of Responsibility for Mali Hotel Attack

Malian authorities ask public for help in identifying gunmen killed in attack, amid conflicting claims of responsibility from multiple jihadist groups active in the country

Video Debt-ridden Refugees Await Onslaught of Lebanese Winter

Aid agencies are attempting to reduce potentially devastating consequences of freezing conditions and snowstorms that killed eight last year, including three Syrian refugees

This forum has been closed.
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 Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against ISi
November 24, 2015 3:04 AM
The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

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 Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

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.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs