News / Asia

US, North Korea 'Narrow Differences' in Geneva Talks

U.S. top envoy on Pyongyang, Stephen Bosworth appears for a short statement outside the U.S. mission in Geneva, Switzerland, Tuesday, Oct 25, 2011.
U.S. top envoy on Pyongyang, Stephen Bosworth appears for a short statement outside the U.S. mission in Geneva, Switzerland, Tuesday, Oct 25, 2011.

The State Department said Tuesday U.S. and North Korean officials narrowed their differences on resuming Chinese-sponsored six-party negotiations on Pyongyang’s nuclear program in a two-day set of talks in Geneva. But, U.S. officials say there were no breakthroughs and that the process will take some time.

Officials are expressing cautious optimism about the results of the Geneva meetings, but say it could take months to find out if North Korea is willing to take the “concrete” steps needed to re-start the nuclear talks.

In the latest sign of an improved atmosphere between North Korea and other parties in the stalled six-way negotiations, senior U.S. and North Korean diplomats met behind closed doors for two days of meetings in Geneva.

U.S. special envoy for North Korea Stephen Bosworth said the sides narrowed some differences and that the tone was positive and generally constructive.

His North Korean counterpart, Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye Gwan sounded more upbeat, citing “big improvements” in some areas and saying remaining differences will be solved when the sides meet again.

Briefing reporters, State Department Spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said there were no breakthroughs and that it might take some time to learn if North Korea is prepared to do what is needed to revive the six-party talks.

“We’ve narrowed the differences but there is quite a bit of work still to do," she said. "I think you know where we have been on the six-party talks. First, that the north-south dialogue needs to continue and second that we need to see real concrete steps, concrete commitments by the North Koreans on their nuclear obligations.”

A senior U.S. official said the North Korean team was given detailed proposals to take back to the leadership in Pyongyang and that given its track record on such issues, it will probably be a matter of weeks if not months before a decision is made.

North Korea agreed in principle in 2005 to scrap its nuclear program including a presumed small stockpile of weapons in return for aid and diplomatic incentives from other members of the six-party talks-Japan, Russia, South Korea, the United States and host China.

But Pyongyang walked out of the talks in 2009 and later conducted a second nuclear test.

North-South Korean relations went into a tail-spin last year with the sinking of a South Korean navy ship blamed on the north and the North Korean shelling of a southern coastal island.

John Park, senior program officer for Northeast Asia of the U.S. Institute of Peace, the USIP, says efforts to get North Korea back into the negotiating process are aimed in part at preventing a return to aggressive behavior by Pyongyang.

“One of the big motivations now is to try to engage North Korea in some kind of talks as a way to prevent future provocations," he said. "That thesis, I think, is being implemented right now to a certain degree. Certainly there are other factors involved as well. But in terms of taking a pro-active stance in terms of trying to prevent a recurrence of provocation like last year, this type of negotiating or engaging with North Korea is seen as an important element of that.”

The USIP’s Park says North Korea is being heavily “courted” amid a sense of urgency by China and others that the longer the six-party process is stalemated, the less chance there is of getting it going again.

U.S. spokeswoman Nuland said the Geneva meetings included North Korea’s request for international food aid to cope with shortages attributed to floods and mismanagement.

She said whether the United States, the largest single food donor to North Korea since the 1990s, provides new aid depends on a U.S. needs assessment and competing demand for famine relief elsewhere including the Horn of Africa.

Nuland said Washington also wants terms assuring that any aid reaches North Koreans truly in need, and she dismissed charges by some aid groups that a U.S. decision is being held up for political reasons.

“We reject those assertions. We do not connect these issues," she said. "And were we to go forward, we would have to have significant and detailed discussions about monitoring, which we have not yet had.”

Nuland said U.S. North Korea envoy Bosworth will step down and return full-time to his academic post at Tufts University near Boston after returning to Washington and briefing administration officials on the Geneva meetings.

Bosworth was accompanied there by veteran diplomat Glyn Davies, outgoing U.S. ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency, who has been named to the North Korea post.

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