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

Scotland Vote Raises Questions of International Law

Experts say self-determination, as defined and protected by international law, confined narrowly to independence movements in process of de-colonization More

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

Conservationists hail ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015 More

Annual Military Exercise Takes on New Meaning for Ukraine Troops

Troops from 15 nations participating in annual event, 'Rapid Trident' in western Ukraine 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.
Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctionsi
X
September 18, 2014 2:28 AM
A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid