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.
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.
Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continuesi
Ayesha Tanzeem
November 25, 2015 10:46 PM
One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continues

One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs