News / Asia

US May Seek UN Debate on North Korean Uranium Program

TEXT SIZE - +

A senior U.S. diplomat says the United States will seek an opportunity to challenge North Korea's right to a uranium enrichment program at the United Nations.

James Steinberg, the deputy secretary of state, said during an interview in South Korea Wednesday that North Korea is "not entitled to a uranium enrichment program even though they claim it is for peaceful purposes."

Asked whether Washington was prepared to push the issue in the United Nations Security Council, Steinberg said the U.S. government will look for every opportunity, including at "the Security Council and elsewhere to address this."

During the interview, which was taped for broadcast by South Korea's KBS television, he also said there are "a variety of platforms, including the Security Council, where we can make the point."

Steinberg's comments were made after meeting with South Korea’s president and other officials earlier Wednesday to discuss the likely resumption of talks  between Seoul and Pyongyang.

After discussions with South Korean Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan, Steinberg said the tight relationship between Washington and Seoul appears to have forced Pyongyang to seek new dialogue.

"The strong coordination and cooperation between the United States and South Korea, both on the military and the political level has sent a strong message to North Korea that they're not going to achieve their objectives through intimidation, through coercion,” said Steinberg.  “And that on the contrary, that all they will do is deepen their isolation and lead to even more effective implementation of the measures that we have adopted in response to previous provocations."

The two discussed the recent joint statement by President Obama and Chinese President Hu Jintao. It expressed concern about North Korea’s uranium enrichment program and called for “sincere and constructive dialogue” between Seoul and Pyongyang.

The foreign minister told Steinberg the comments were much appreciated here in Seoul.

"Based on that summit outcome I hope that we can continue our cooperation and coordination in dealing with North Korea," Kim said.

Kim also welcomed President Obama’s State of the Union address, in which he pledged to stand with Seoul and called on Pyongyang to fulfill its commitments to abandon nuclear weapons.

Last week, North Korea proposed restarting military talks with South Korea, and on Wednesday Seoul suggested a preliminary round on February 11.

The meeting would be the first since North Korea shelled a South Korean island in November, killing four people. Last March a South Korean warship exploded and sank in the Yellow Sea, killing 46 sailors.

North Korea has not acknowledged involvement, although an international investigation concluded a North Korean torpedo hit the ship.

Unification Ministry spokesman Chun Hae Sung urges Pyongyang to agree to separate talks about its nuclear weapons.

Chun says Pyongyang should respond positively to the call for talks on ending its nuclear programs.

The ministry, however, is not sending a formal telegram to North Korea asking for separate nuclear talks.

North Korea previously has refused to discuss that matter directly with the South. Pyongyang says its nuclear weapons are intended to deter a U.S. invasion, thus the issue should be discussed directly between Pyongyang and Washington.

The U.S. government maintains that Seoul and Pyongyang must meet first before six-nation talks on North Korea’s nuclear program can resume.

Pyongyang quit those talks in 2009, because of United Nations censure for its missile testing. North Korea in 2005 had agreed to give up its nuclear weapons program in exchange for aid and security guarantees.


Steve Herman

A veteran journalist, Steven L Herman is the Voice of America Asia correspondent.

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 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.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid