News / Asia

US Still Open to North Korea Dialogue

The State Department's top diplomat for East Asia said Thursday the United States is not ruling out future dialogue with North Korea, despite the fact that Pyongyang is blamed for the sinking of the South Korean warship, the Cheonan.  But Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell says Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has no plans to meet North Korean or Burmese officials in Asia next week.  

Campbell says the sinking of the South Korean ship in March was an outrage, but he is leaving the door open to future U.S.-North Korean contacts, provided Pyongyang ends provocative behavior and recommits to regional nuclear talks.

He briefed reporters on Secretary Clinton's visits next week to South Korea and Vietnam, where the Korean situation in the aftermath of the Cheonan incident is expected to be a key issue.

Clinton will join Defense Secretary Robert Gates in Seoul for a so-called "two-plus-two" meeting with their South Korean counterparts, and then go on to Hanoi at mid-week to take part in a regional dialogue with foreign ministers of ASEAN.

Campbell hailed what he termed the "calm and perseverance" shown by the South Korean government of President Lee Myung-Bak in the face of the sinking, which a South Korean-led investigation in May blamed on North Korea.

He said the "two-plus-two" meeting in Seoul will coordinate strategy and consider a variety of options for responding to the sinking. But he also said the United States and South Korea agree on the need to keep open the prospect of dialogue with Pyongyang.

"The United States and South Korea have always maintained, and our position is clear, that we are prepared under the right circumstances, to sit down in a dialogue with North Korea," said Campbell.  "But, as President Lee Myung-Bak has said on numerous occasions, we do not want to talk for talking's sake.  There has to be a clear determination that North Korea rejects its provocative ways and embraces a path toward denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula," he said.

Campbell said North Korea usually takes part in the ASEAN regional talks.  But he said there are no plans for Clinton to meet in Hanoi with diplomats from either North Korea or ASEAN member Burma.

Campbell has been point-man in an Obama administration effort to engage Burma and prod the military government there to ease human rights conditions and hold elections later this year that meet international standards.

However, he said signals from Burma on election plans are not encouraging.

"The steps that we've seen to date suggest that these will not be free and fair elections; that there are many problems associated with the domestic environment.  And we're concerned by the fact that the government has not engaged in a domestic dialogue with its critics and others," he said.

Campbell, who last visited Burma in May, said that as in the case of North Korea, the United States is prepared "under the right circumstances" to engage and work with Burmese authorities on trying to improve domestic political conditions.

The United States has pressed for the release of all Burmese political prisoners including detained democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, and for a dialogue among the government, opposition parties and ethnic groups that will lead to credible elections.

Clinton is due to leave Washington this weekend on a trip that will include attendance at the Kabul conference on Afghanistan's political future.  A full itinerary has not been released, but Pakistani officials say she will also make a stop in Islamabad.

You May Like

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment 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.
Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Agei
X
Elizabeth Lee
July 20, 2014 2:36 AM
Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.
Video

Video Diplomatic Crisis Grows Over MH17 Plane Crash

The Malaysia Airlines crash in eastern Ukraine is drawing reaction from leaders around the world. With suspicions growing that a surface-to-air missile shot down the aircraft, there are increasing tensions in the international community over who is to blame. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Undocumented Immigrants Face Perilous Journey to US, No Guarantees

Every day, hundreds of undocumented immigrants from Central America attempt the arduous journey through Mexico and turn themselves over to U.S. border patrol -- with the hope that they will not be turned away. But the dangers they face along the way are many, and as Ramon Taylor reports from the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, their fate rests on more than just the reception they get at the US border.
Video

Video Scientists Create Blackest Material Ever

Of all the black things in the universe only the infamous "black holes" are so black that not even a tiny amount of light can bounce back. But scientists have managed to create material almost as black, and it has enormous potential use. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Fog Collector Transforming Maasai Water Harvesting in Kenya

The Maasai people of Kenya are known for their cattle-herding, nomadic lifestyle. But it's an existence that depends on access to adequate water for their herds and flocks. Lenny Ruvaga reports for VOA, on a "fog collector."

AppleAndroid