News / Asia

    US: North Korean Nuclear Concessions Welcome, But Insufficient

    North Korean leader Kim Jong Il (L) says goodbye to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev (R) after a meeting at a military garrison, outside Ulan-Ude in Byryatia, Russia, August 24, 2011
    North Korean leader Kim Jong Il (L) says goodbye to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev (R) after a meeting at a military garrison, outside Ulan-Ude in Byryatia, Russia, August 24, 2011

    The United States has called reported North Korean nuclear concessions welcome but insufficient. North Korean leader Kim Jong Il told Russian officials that Pyongyang would freeze tests and production of nuclear weapons and missiles in the context of renewed six-party negotiations.

    Officials in Washington are not rejecting Kim’s gesture out of hand. But they say the concessions the North Korean leader offered in a meeting with Russian President Dmitri Medvedev are not enough to resume six-party talks on ending the North’s nuclear programs.

    A Russian spokesman reported that Kim Jong Il said Pyongyang is ready to return to negotiations. Kim also said that in the course of talks, North Korea would be ready to “resolve the question” of a moratorium on tests and production of “nuclear missile weapons.”

    The United States has said in the past that such a moratorium is a condition for restarting the stalled nuclear talks.

    Short of necessary prerequisites

    State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said Wednesday if, in fact, Pyongyang is willing to refrain from nuclear tests and missile launches, it would be welcome.

    But she said as is, the offer would be insufficient, noting it doesn’t mention Pyongyang’s uranium enrichment program.

    “As you know, their disclosure last November of a uranium enrichment facility remains a matter of serious concern to us. And these activities are a clear violation of their obligations under U.N. Security Council resolutions 1718 and 1874 and contrary to the commitments they made in 2005. So if it’s true, [it’s a] welcome first step, but far from enough.”

    North Korea agreed in principle to scrap its nuclear program, including a presumed small arsenal of nuclear weapons, in 2005 in return for economic and diplomatic benefit.

    However, the six-party talks, involving the two Koreas, Japan, Russia, the United States and host China dragged on inconclusively and broke down in 2008.

    Past failures

    Pyongyang tested a nuclear device in 2006, and another in 2009 after the talks foundered, and has conducted several missile tests.

    North-South Korea relations were in crisis last year after Pyongyang sank a South Korean warship and shelled a southern coastal island.

    Tensions have eased of late, though, with North and South Korean officials meeting last month at an ASEAN conference in Bali, Indonesia. U.S. and North Korean envoys later met in New York.

    Some policy analysts are skeptical about North Korea’s recent conciliatory moves, which they link to its deepening economic problems.

    Bruce Klingner, the senior research fellow for Northeast Asia at Washington’s Heritage Foundation, said the vague pledges made by the North Korean leader are part of what he terms a “charm offensive.” He said there may be less substance to the gesture than is indicated by news headlines.  

    “If you look at the actual wording from the Russian spokesperson, they merely stated that in the course of the talks, North Korea would be ready to resolve the question of imposing a moratorium on tests and production of nuclear missile programs," said Klingner. "So it’s far short of a pledge for unilateral action prior to resuming the nuclear negotiations. And also the wording of it clearly gives Pyongyang plenty of opportunity to try to seek out concessions during the talks themselves.”

    Empty promises

    Klingner said nothing came of a reported North Korean offer last December to re-admit international inspectors to its Yongbyong nuclear complex.

    South Korea’s Yonhap news agency quoted a senior official in Seoul as saying the Russia-North Korea summit fell short of expectations, and that Pyongyang needs to address the uranium enrichment issue.

    Nuland said she expects U.S.-Russian consultations on the summit once the North Korean leader has returned home. She rejected a suggestion the meeting reflects an emerging alliance between Moscow and Pyongyang. She said Russia’s aim in the six-party talks is the same as that of the United States, and that they will not resume until North Korea meets its previous commitments.

    You May Like

    Video Democrats Clinton, Kaine Offer 'Very Different Vision' Than Trump

    In a jab at Trump, Clinton says her team wants to 'build bridges, not walls'; Obama Hails Kaine's record; Trump calls Kaine a 'job-killer'

    Turkey Wants Pakistan to Close Down institutions, Businesses Linked to Gulen

    Thousands of Pakistani students are enrolled in Gulen's commercial network of around two dozen institutions operating in Pakistan for over two decades

    AU Passport A Work in Progress

    Who will get the passport and what the benefits are still need to be worked out

    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.
    In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movementi
    X
    July 22, 2016 11:49 AM
    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora