President Obama: North Korea will no longer be rewarded for provocative behaviour.
North Korea will no longer be rewarded for provocative behaviour, US President Barack Obama has said at a joint news conference with South Korea’s leader.
Flanked by President Park Geun-hye, Mr Obama told a White House briefing North Korea was more isolated than ever.
Ms Park is on her first foreign trip since taking office in February.
Ahead of their meeting, US officials said North Korea had moved two medium-range missiles from a coastal launch site, lowering tensions.
The international community must consistently send the message with one voice, to tell them… that they have no choice but to change”
Park Geun-hyePresident, South Korea
“The days when North Korea could create a crisis and elicit concessions, those days are over,” Mr Obama told Tuesday’s briefing after meeting privately with Ms Park in the Oval Office.
He added: “President Park and myself very much share the view that we are going to maintain a strong deterrent, we’re not going to reward provocative behaviour, but we remain open to the prospect of North Korea taking a peaceful path.
“So far, at least, we haven’t seen actions on the part of the North Koreans that would indicate they’re prepared to move in a different direction,” he said.
The visit by Ms Park, South Korea’s first female president, came as the US and South Korea mark 60 years of their military alliance.
Ms Park said her country would not tolerate what she called North Korean aggression and escalation.
“Instead of just hoping to see North Korea change, the international community must consistently send the message with one voice, to tell them and communicate to them that they have no choice but to change,” she said.
Pyongyang was believed to have been preparing for a missile launch last month, having threatened attacks in the region.
The threats followed tough new UN sanctions imposed on North Korea in March after its third nuclear test.
North Korea has also been angered by wide-ranging annual US-South Korea military drills, which ended a week ago.
Meanwhile, the state-owned Bank of China said it was halting transactions from North Korea’s Foreign Trade Bank on Tuesday.
It is thought to be the first time that a Chinese entity has made a move against North Korean interests following the recent tension.
US officials recently gave Israel a video demonstration of the new features which enable its biggest bunker buster bomb (Massive Ordnance Penetrator) to destroy Iran’s underground uranium enrichment plant at Fordo near Qom, in a bid to dissuade Israel from a unilateral attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities.
This is reported by the Wall Street Journal.
The video displayed the improved bomb, which Israel does not have, as hitting the ground near its target and setting off a massive underground explosion.
DEBKAfile’s military sources report that this videotaped demonstration was in line with the Obama administration’s latest campaign to convince Israel that the US is getting ready to strike Iran itself.
In actual fact, the improved American MOP is not news – any more than the Israeli Air Force’s possession of bombs capable of penetrating the Fordo underground plant. This capability has given Israeli officials the confidence to assert that Israel can destroy Iran’s nuclear facilities on its own.
What Washington has in common with Jerusalem is that while both make no secret of their capabilities – and Israeli leaders are also free with threatening rhetoric – neither is actually exercising them.
The only parties on the move are Iran and Hizballah.
At the end of the week, DEBKAfile’s military sources report that both established a military presence in Syria and Lebanon, just across Israel’s two northern borders. An Iranian airlift placed Iranian boots on the ground in Syria for the first time in more than two years of its civil war. It was also the first time Israel had ever seen uniformed Iranian soldiers present at close quarters on the soil of a close neighbor.
The arrivals are members of the violent Basij volunteer militia which is trained in urban combat tactics for suppressing anti-regime unrest in Iranian cities. They are the first Iranian troops to confront Syrian rebels in combat. Roughly 6,000-8,000 militiamen have arrived so far – a figure comparable to the size of the Hizhballah elite units fighting for Bashar Assad in Syria.
The Basij militiamen were stationed in Damascus and sent to guard Syrian Shiite border villages situated opposite Hizballah-controlled South Lebanon. This deployment has placed Iranian troops opposite the intersection of the Israeli, Syrian and Lebanese borders.
Iran’s expanding military intervention in Syria accounts partly for this week’s surprise call-up of thousands of Israeli reservists for duty on the country’s northern borders. Although they were sent home after 24 hours to disguise their mission and calm rising tensions, they were in fact ordered to report back Sunday, May 5. These reservists will then pick up the gear and weapons needed for real combat, and take up positions along Israel’s borders with Syria and Lebanon.
Sirens blared over parts of the Golan Friday, May 3, their sensors touched off by the preparations for these military movements. The official pretext offered of a “technical glitch” was about as convincing as the Israeli military spokesman’s attempt to deny knowing who sent a drone from Beirut towards Israel on April 25.
The sirens on the Golan were apparently not loud enough to be heard in Washington and Jerusalem.
A rocket is carried by a military vehicle during a military parade to celebrate the centenary of the birth of Kim Il-sung in Pyongyang April 15, 2012 in this picture released by North Korea’s KCNA on April 16, 2012. South Korea’s YTN TV later cited military sources and analysts as saying the rocket is a new long-range missile, presumed to be a ballistic missile with a range of 6,000 km (3,700 miles).
By Stephanie Nebehay
GENEVA | Fri May 3, 2013 8:42am EDT
(Reuters) – The United States said on Friday that Iran and North Korea were trying to obtain high-tech materials linked to their nuclear programs in violation of U.N. sanctions.
Iran was also sending weapons and ammunition to Syrian government forces despite a ban, said Thomas Countryman, Assistant Secretary for International Security and Nonproliferation.
“Both Iran and North Korea have developed channels that enable them to continue to export and continue to procure the items they need for their weapons industry,” he told a news briefing in Geneva.
In comments to Reuters, he made clear he was referring to high-tech materials related to nuclear and other programs, including conventional weapons.
Iran and North Korea are under U.N. sanctions banning sales of nuclear, missile and related high-tech material to them as well as the export of any military material, Countryman said.
There was a determined international effort to enforce the U.N. sanctions and prevent such trade, he said.
Regarding Iran’s alleged efforts, he said: “Certain Iranian procuring agents in high-tech places like China push very hard.”
Asked about any cooperation between Iran and North Korea in nuclear matters, a U.S. official, speaking on condition of not being identified, said: “They have contacts. We are watching it.
Western experts say the two countries have cooperated on ballistic missile development and there is concern that cooperation may extend to the nuclear field, though no such link has been proven.
North Korea, which conducted a third nuclear test in February, continues development of nuclear technology and long-range ballistic missiles that will move it closer to its stated goal of being able to hit the United States with an atomic weapon, a Pentagon report said on Thursday.
Countryman led the U.S. delegation to a two-week session that reviewed progress in implementing the 1970 nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) that aims to prevent the spread of atomic weapons. The Geneva talks end on Friday.
“Obviously, more needs to be done in order for the regime in Iran to hear the message that it must seriously address its non-compliance with the Non-Proliferation Treaty,” he said.
Critics say Iran is trying to achieve the ability to make nuclear bombs. Tehran denies this, saying it needs nuclear power for energy generation and medical purposes.
Negotiators from the European Union and Iran will meet in Istanbul this month to discuss future diplomatic efforts to resolve the dispute over Tehran’s nuclear program.
(Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay in Geneva; Additional reporting by Fredrik Dahl in Vienna; Editing by Angus MacSwan)
North Korea’s continuing development of nuclear technology and long-range ballistic missiles will move it closer to its stated goal of being able to hit the United States with an atomic weapon, a new Pentagon report to Congress said on Thursday.
The report, the first version of an annual Pentagon assessment required by law, said Pyongyang’s Taepodong-2missile, with continued development, and might ultimately be able to reach parts of the United States carrying a nuclear payload if configured as an intercontinental ballistic missile.
North Korea launched a multi-stage rocket that delivered a satellite into orbit in December, an advance that “contributes heavily” to the country’s development of a long-range ballistic missile capability, the report said.
It is also continuing to refine its atomic weapons capability, including with a nuclear detonation in February, and is capable of conducting “additional nuclear tests at any time,” the report said.
“These advances in ballistic-missile delivery systems, coupled with developments in nuclear technology … are in line with North Korea’s stated objective of being able to strike the U.S. homeland,” the report said.
“North Korea will move closer to this goal, as well as increase the threat it poses to U.S. forces and allies in the region, if it continues testing and devoting scarce regime resources to these programs,” it said.
The document characterized North Korea as one of the biggest U.S. security challenges in the region because of its effort to develop nuclear arms and missiles, its record of selling weapons technology to other countries and its willingness to “undertake provocative and destabilizing behavior.”
The report comes at a sensitive time in the region, with friction between Washington and Pyongyang only now beginning to ease following two months of increasingly shrill rhetoric that seemed to edge the Korean peninsula close to war.
Tensions between the two countries rose sharply after North Korea put the satellite into space in late December and conducted the nuclear test in February. The test triggered new U.N. sanctions, which led to a barrage of threats from Pyongyang.
North Korea went so far as to warn of nuclear strikes on the United States and South Korea, as its new leader, Kim Jong-un, marked his first year in office following the death of his father.
The U.S. and South Korean militaries went ahead with a long-scheduled military exercise despite the threats and Washington sending stealth bombers and other planes to the region in a show of force.
North Korea signed a deal to get rid of its nuclear program in exchange for aid in 2005 but later backed out of the pact and now says it will not give up its atomic weapons program.
The United States has firmly rejected North Korean demands that it be recognized as a nuclear-armed state. Washington has stepped up its diplomacy with China over the issue.
On ABC’s This Week, Representative Mike Rogers argued that the president’s presentation of a “red line” on Syria’s use of chemical weapons — which Rogers and other congressmen argue has been confirmed this week — has put him in a serious bind, because “more than just Syria, Iran is paying attention to this, North Korea is paying attention to this. The options aren’t huge, but some action needs to be taken.”
“It can’t be a dotted line; it can’t be anything other than a red line,” Rogers said.
In this March 20, 2013 photo, a North Korean flag hangs inside the interior of Pyongyang’s Supreme Court. (AP PHOTO)
“Crimes” committed by Korean-American tourist may further tensions with the United States.
Seoul, Reuters—North Korea said on Saturday a Korean-American tourist, jailed by the reclusive state since late last year, will face trial for “committing crimes” against the North, a move that could further stoke tensions with the United States.
The move comes amid a diplomatic standoff between the North and the United States, and as Pyongyang has threatened to attack U.S. military bases in the Pacific and the South.
A number of U.S. citizens of Korean descent have run into trouble in the North over the years, and Pyongyang has tried to use their detention to extract visits by high-profile American figures, most notably former President Bill Clinton.
In the latest case, Kenneth Bae, 44, has been held by police since arriving in the northeastern city of Rajin on November 3. He was among a group of five tourists.
“In the process of investigation he admitted that he committed crimes aimed to topple the DPRK with hostility toward it,” KCNA state media reported, using the North’s official title of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
“His crimes were proved by evidence,” it said, adding he would soon be taken to the Supreme Court “to face judgment”. It did not provide further details.
South Korean rights workers said that the North’s authorities may have taken issue with some of his photographs, including those of homeless North Korean children.
A South Korean newspaper published by an evangelical family said he may have been carrying footage of North Korea executing defectors and dissidents. It was impossible to verify this.
According to North Korean law, the punishment for hostile acts against the state is five to 10 years of hard labor.
Clinton flew to Pyongyang in 2009 and met then-leader Kim Jong-il before securing the release of two American media workers who had been charged with entering the North illegally.
Former U.N. ambassador Bill Richardson has made numerous trips to North Korea that have included efforts to free detained Americans. He delivered a letter regarding Bae to officials during a trip to North Korea in January, although he was unable to meet Bae.
Tensions between North Korea and South Korea and its ally the United States have spiraled in recent weeks since the United Nations tightened sanctions after the North’s third nuclear weapon test in February.
The toughening of those sanctions led to the North threatening nuclear strikes against South Korea and the United States.
North Korea has a long record of making threats to secure concessions from the United States and South Korea, only to repeat the process later. Both the United States and the South have said in recent days that the cycle must cease.
On Friday, Pyongyang rejected a call for formal talks to end a standoff that forced operations at a joint industrial complex shared by the North and South to be halted.
South Korea in turn said it would pull out all its remaining workers from the Kaesong factory complex, which is just inside North Korea and is one of the North’s few sources of ready cash.
Of the 175 remaining South Korean workers, 126 workers left the factory zone on Saturday. The rest are scheduled to return on Monday.
A representative of the South Korean firms at the complex urged the government to hold inter-Korean talks and to authorize their visit to North Korea on Tuesday, South Korea’s news agency Yonhap said.
Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.
North Korea offered talks Thursday with South Korea and the United States, but laid out pre-conditions that Seoul dismissed as “absurd” and analysts said would do little to reduce soaring tensions.
The demands laid out by the North’s main military body included the withdrawal of UN sanctions and a permanent end to South Korea-US joint military drills.
The offer followed a month of increasingly hostile exchanges between Pyongyang, Seoul and Washington that have included threats of nuclear war and precision missile strikes.
The North’s conditions were swiftly rejected by South Korea which, together with the United States, has made any talks conditional on the North putting its nuclear weapons program on the table.
“North Korea’s demands are totally incomprehensible. It’s absurd,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Cho Tai-Young told reporters.
Dialogue has become the new focus of the blistering rhetorical battle that has trapped the Korean peninsula in an escalating cycle of military tensions ever since the North carried out its third nuclear test in February.
South Korea’s new president, Park Geun-Hye, has made tentative — and conditional — offers of talks, but the North’s initial response was to swat them away as a “crafty trick.”
Some analysts see the North’s engagement in a debate over dialogue — no matter how unrealistic the conditions — as a welcome shift from the apocalyptic threats that have been pouring out of Pyongyang.
“It’s an initial show of strength in a game of tug-of-war that at least shows a desire to have a dialogue down the line,” said Yang Moo-Jin, a professor at the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul.
But others like Daniel Pinkston, a North Korea expert with the International Crisis Group, ruled out any softening of Pyongyang’s position and said those hoping for dialogue were being willfully naive.
The North, Pinkston argued, had bound itself to a course that could only end with its recognition as a nuclear power — a status that is anathema to the United States and its allies.
“So what is there to even talk about?” Pinkston said.
“The North is committed. It’s burned its bridges. Any reversal could only be made at immense domestic cost to the regime.”
“And there is simply no way any US administration is going to sit down and confirm a change in the status quo with the North as a nuclear state,” Pinkston said.
“We’re still firmly on a collision course, and it’s not going to end well,” he added.
The first step demanded by the North’s National Military Commission was the withdrawal of “cooked up” UN sanctions that were imposed after the nuclear test in February.
North Korea has repeatedly cited the sanctions as a prime trigger for the current crisis.
The other main bone of contention has been ongoing South Korea-US military drills, which have involved the deployment of nuclear-capable B-52s and B-2 stealth bombers.
Both countries must provide international guarantees that such “nuclear war drills” will never be repeated, the commission said.
“Dialogue and war games can never go together,” it added.
President Park’s dialogue overtures to the North received the backing of US Secretary of State John Kerry during his recent Northeast Asia tour.
But both Park and Kerry stressed any talks would have to be predicated on signals from North Korea that it would “change its ways” and respect its international obligations, especially with its nuclear program.
UN chief Ban Ki-moon urged Pyongyang on Wednesday to “seriously” consider Seoul’s offer.
The North’s statement made no mention of a possible medium-range missile test — the expectation of which has kept South Korean and US forces on heightened alert for the past week.
Intelligence reports suggest the North has two Musudan missiles primed to fire from its east coast, and most observers had predicted a launch on or around April 15, the birthday of the North’s late founder Kim Il-Sung.
Presidential security adviser Kim Jang-Soo said Thursday that any missile launch would likely be directed into the East Sea between the Korean Peninsula and Japan.
During U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry visit to Beijing, the United States and China agreed on Saturday to work together to “peacefully denuclearize” the Korean peninsula.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and China’s top diplomat, State Councillor Yang Jiechi, said both countries supported the goal of denuclearizing the Korean peninsula, Reuters reported.
“We are able, the United States and China, to underscore our joint commitment to the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula in a peaceful manner,” Reuters quoted Kerry as saying to reporters.
“We agreed that this is critically important for the stability of the region and indeed for the world and for all of our nonproliferation efforts,” Kerry added while standing next to Yang at a state guesthouse in western Beijing.
Before travelling to Beijing for the first time as secretary of state, Kerry had made no secret of his desire to see China take a more active stance towards North Korea, which in recent weeks has threatened nuclear war against the United States and South Korea.
“We maintain that the issue should be handled and resolved peacefully through dialogue and consultation. To properly address the Korea nuclear issue serves the common interests of all parties. It is also the shared responsibility of all parties,” Yang said.
As the North’s main trading partner, financial backer and the closest thing it has to a diplomatic ally, China has a unique ability to use its leverage against the impoverished, isolated state, Kerry said in the South Korean capital, Seoul late on Friday before leaving for Beijing.
“Mr. President, this is obviously a critical time with some very challenging issues – issues on the Korean peninsula, the challenge of Iran and nuclear weapons, Syria and the Middle East, and economies around the world that are in need of a boost,” AFP quoted Kerry telling Chinese President Xi Jinping on Saturday.
Meanwhile, conflicting accounts from U.S. intelligence about the status of North Korea’s nuclear weapons program underscore just how difficult it is for American spy agencies to penetrate the inscrutable regime in Pyongyang, AFP reported officials and experts as saying.
The world’s most powerful intelligence apparatus is often left to guesswork when it comes to tracking a regime that has cut off its population from the outside world.
“I also have to say that North Korea, of course, is now and always has been one of the, if not the, toughest intelligence targets,” National Intelligence Director James Clapper told lawmakers at a hearing Thursday.
The spy chief acknowledged that North Korea’s young, untested leader Kim Jong-Un remained a mystery figure whose motives and mindset were largely unknown.
“There’s no telling how he’s going to behave,” Clapper said.
The United States gleans most of its intelligence from satellites tracking North Korean military movements, as Western spies cannot effectively operate in such a tightly-controlled dictatorship.
“It is virtually impossible to run a human spy in the north and penetrate the Korean state,” Bruce Riedel, a former CIA officer and fellow at the Brookings Institution, told AFP.
The vexing challenge posed by North Korea was driven home when a Defense Intelligence Agency report came to light Thursday that seemed to paint a more dangerous picture of the country’s nuclear weapons, unlike previous accounts from U.S. officials.
WASHINGTON — A new assessment of North Korea’s nuclear capability conducted by the Pentagon’s intelligence arm has concluded for the first time, with “moderate confidence,” that the country has learned how to make a nuclear weapon small enough to be delivered by a ballistic missile.
The assessment by the Defense Intelligence Agency, which has been distributed to senior administration officials and members of Congress, cautions that the weapon’s “reliability will be low,” apparently a reference to the North’s difficulty in developing accurate missiles or, perhaps, to the huge technical challenges of designing a warhead that can survive the rigors of flight and detonate on a specific target.
It is unclear whether other American intelligence agencies agree with the assessment by the Defense Intelligence Agency, which has primary responsibility for monitoring the missile capabilities of adversary nations. In the case of Iraq, a decade ago, the agency was among those that argued most vociferously that Saddam Hussein had nuclear weapons.
Outside experts said that the report’s conclusions helped explain why the administration announced last month that it was bolstering long-range antimissile defenses in Alaska and California, designed to protect the West Coast, and was rushing another antimissile system, originally not intended for deployment until 2015, to Guam.
The head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization today, in an unusual press conference, denied the existence of a WND-revealed secret uranium enrichment site, dubbed “Quds,” at which the rogue nation is making great progress in creating nuclear warheads for an array of long-range missiles stored underground nearby.
In a coordinated effort, all major media of the Islamic regime reported on the press conference with the headline, “The existence of a nuclear site with the name of Quds is not accurate.”
The reports quote Fereidoon Abassi, the head of Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, as saying, “The existence of the Quds site 15 meters (50 feet) northeast of Fordow is not correct.”
The site actually sits 15 kilometers, or 9.3 miles, to the northeast of the previous secret site of Fordow.
Iran’s secret new nuclear site was exposed in an exclusive WND story on March 20 and a follow-up in the Washington Times the next day. The source for that information, a high-ranking intelligence officer assigned to the regime’s Defense Ministry, provided the coordinates and the detailed information on the operation of the complex, which consists of three facilities:
The first is where the regime’s scientists are enriching uranium to weapons grade. They already have enough plutonium for several bombs and are in the last stage of putting together a nuclear warhead. This site is called “Quds” after Jerusalem, as they believe Israel will soon be destroyed and Jerusalem restored to Muslim rule.
The second, which makes missile warheads, is dubbed “Marty Mughniyah” after the Hezbollah terrorist who, under the command of the regime, conducted multiple terrorist acts that killed hundreds of Americans and Israelis.
The third facility is a vast site that houses over 380 missile depots and launching pads.
At the press conference today, Abassi said, “Reports by some media and the produced video which claimed that Iran had an installation involved in its nuclear operation with the name ‘Quds’ 15 meters northeast of Fordow (are not true). … These claims are not accurate because Iran has no other nuclear enrichment facility but Fordow in the vicinity of the cities of Qom to Natanz, Tehran to Qom and Qom to Saveh. Our only enrichment facility is at Fordow, and that is under the supervision of the (International Atomic Energy Agency) and nothing else exists.”
Abassi failed to mention the Natanz nuclear facility, which is enriching uranium with over 10,000 centrifuges and located within the vicinities he mentioned.
And according to the source, regime scientists in collaboration with their North Korean counterparts have succeeded in not only enriching to weapons grade but have converted the highly enriched uranium into metal. Moreover, the source said, successfully making a neutron reflector indicates the final stages for a nuclear weapons design that would be a two-stage, more sophisticated and much more powerful nuclear bomb.
Regime scientists are also working on a plutonium bomb as a second path to becoming nuclear-armed, the source said, and they have at this site 24 kilograms of plutonium, which is sufficient for several atomic bombs. The scientists are at the last stage of putting together a warhead, he said.
Iran is now having to react because “powers” have asked Tehran to explain the site, the source said. The fact that Abassi emphasized the distance and the name without explaining what the site is and why hundreds of missiles surround it shows the regime has been caught off guard and is panicking.
The satellite images clearly show this vast site is visible to the naked eye and that it is a high-priority site with secret work conducted deep within a mountain.
Abassi finds himself in a tough situation, the source said, and it’s very likely he will soon be replaced as the regime has long suspected him of spying. His panicky explanation about “Quds” and giving exact locations at which Iran does not have another enrichment facility might be seen as a subliminal message that the regime indeed has other secret installations.
Golpanews, which is associated with the Defense Ministry, said on March 24: “It is clear that the claim by anti-revolutionaries about the existence of the secret nuclear site, Quds, if correct, is nothing more than the situation with the Parchin (military) site and that the Islamic Republic, based on its international obligations, is only after the science of enrichment and the usage for peaceful nuclear energy.”
That report by Golpanews, with its connection to the highest levels of the Iranian government, laid the groundwork for calling Quds a military site and therefore not accessible for inspection by the IAEA.
At the press conference today, Abassi touched on a report by The Telegraph on the regime’s activity at its heavy-water plant in Arak and the intention of the regime for producing plutonium as a second path to nuclear weapons, stating that the production of heavy water is only for the use in a reactor.
Reza Kahlili, author of the award-winning book “A Time to Betray,” served in CIA Directorate of Operations, as a spy in the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, counterterrorism expert; currently serves on the Task Force on National and Homeland Security, an advisory board to Congress and the advisory board of the Foundation for Democracy in Iran (FDI). He regularly appears in national and international media as an expert on Iran and counterterrorism in the Middle East.
A top State Department official met with a top representative of the North Korean government in New York in March, The Cable has learned.
Clifford Hart, the State Department’s special envoy to the now-defunct six-party talks, met North Korea’s deputy ambassador to the United Nations Han Song-ryol in mid-March, just before North Korea began its latest string of provocative statements and actions, diplomatic sources said. The meeting was done through what’s known in diplomatic circles as the “New York channel,” the most common method of direct communication between Washington and Pyongyang.
No real progress was made during the meeting and no new offers were made by the U.S. officials present, the sources said. The U.S. side simply reiterated the administration’s call for North Korea to avoid provocative actions as well as its offer for a return to diplomacy if North Korea recommitted to fulfilling its international obligations and pursuing a path of denuclearization. The North Korean side simply agreed to communicate that information back to Pyongyang.
For outside experts critical of the Obama administration’s current approach to North Korea, which is based on the principle of “strategic patience,” or waiting for Pyongyang to change its calculus and rejoin multilateral talks, the meeting is only the latest indication that the administration’s policy is stagnant.
“Unfortunately, the New York channel, which in the past was an important communications link between Pyongyang and Washington, appears to have become a place where boilerplate talking points are exchanged,” former nuclear negotiator Joel Wit told The Cable. “It’s especially disappointing given the ongoing crisis which puts a premium on candid communication to avoid misunderstanding and to find a diplomatic off-ramp from the current tense situation.”
Most recently, the New York channel was used to warn the State Department just before North Korea tested a nuclear bomb for the third time in February. North Korea is expected to test a medium-range ballistic missile as early as Wednesday and another warning could come to the Obama administration via North Korea’s representative office at the U.N…