News

    US Urges China to Convince N. Korea to Scrap Missile Launch

    South Korean Army soldiers watch a TV news program which shows North Korea's Unha-3 rocket at Seoul train station in Seoul, South Korea, April 9, 2012
    South Korean Army soldiers watch a TV news program which shows North Korea's Unha-3 rocket at Seoul train station in Seoul, South Korea, April 9, 2012

    The Obama administration is urging China to help convince North Korea to abandon its planned ballistic missile launch. There are new concerns that North Korea may also be planning another nuclear test.

    State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said the United States continues to urge all countries that may have influence on North Korea - most notably China - to use that influence to make clear that they also disapprove of the planned missile launch and believe it will further isolate Pyongyang.

    As for Washington's message about the launch, Nuland said it is simple: Don't do it.

    "North Korea's launch of a missile would be highly provocative. It would pose a threat to regional security," said Nuland. "And it will be inconsistent with its recent undertakings to refrain from any kind of long-range missile launches."

    The most recent of those undertakings was a February agreement with the United States to resume nuclear inspections in exchange for food aid. That deal was broken by Pyongyang's announcement that it will launch a weather satellite in the next few days aboard an Unha-3 rocket.

    South Korean intelligence photos, obtained by VOA, also show what appear to be preparations for a third North Korean nuclear test.

    While she would not confirm that intelligence information, Nuland said another nuclear test "would be equally bad if not worse" than the missile launch.

    North Korea says launching a weather satellite is a purely civilian operation. But Nuland says U.S. negotiators made clear that any ballistic missile use would be a deal breaker.

    "They can't launch the thing without using ballistic missile technology, which is precluded by U.N. Security Council resolution 1874. So regardless of what they say about it, it's still a violation," Nuland said.

    U.S. officials hoped for more from this first deal negotiated with North Korea's new president, Kim Jong Un, who took power following his father's death in December.

    Victor Cha is the Korea Chair at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. While North Korea's new president is thought to be assisted by top generals and an uncle, Cha says it would be a mistake to conclude that this decision came from anyone but the president himself.

    "The political culture of this place is such that any decision of national significance has always been taken by one person, and that is the direct descendant of the Kim Il Sung line," said Cha. "And so I think while he [may] have people around him who are helping him, in the end decisions are being made by this 28-year-old."

    Cha says the decision to break the February deal must be seen in light of North Korea's long pursuit of nuclear weapons.

    "Even though this may look like puzzling behavior, we have to think of it as part of a systematic program really that is decades-old to try to get to the point where they can deliver nuclear-tipped missiles anywhere in the world and basically try to achieve, in their own minds, the ultimate security umbrella," Cha added.

    With North Korea's determination to press ahead with its nuclear program, Cha says the resumption of six-party talks to resolve the dispute appears a long way off. "I don't think we are going to see any sort of return to the negotiations any time soon," Cha said. "If anything, I think the situation could get worse from here."

    Talks between North Korea, the United States, China, Russia, South Korea and Japan broke down in 2009, when Pyongyang expelled international inspectors before conducting its second nuclear test.

    Stemming North Korea's nuclear ambitions will be part of talks in Washington Wednesday and Thursday, when U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton hosts foreign ministers from the Group of Eight leading industrialized nations.

    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.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Unchartered Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Unchartered Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora