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US Urges N. Korea to Stop Provocative Behavior

Posted May. 08, 2010 07:35,   


The U.S. urged North Korea Friday to stop its provocative behavior and improve relations with neighboring nations to resume the six-party nuclear talks.

This could imply that Washington will hold Pyongyang responsible for the sinking of the South Korean naval vessel Cheonan if the North’s involvement is confirmed. Nevertheless, the U.S. did not rule out the talks’ resumption by saying it remains open to meaningful dialogue with North Korea. Getting North Korea to go nuclear free is a long-term U.S. goal.

When asked if the U.S. would accept if the North announced its willingness to return to the six-party talks at a daily news briefing, Assistant U.S. Secretary of State Philip Crowley said, “What North Korea needs to do is to take irreversible steps towards denuclearization. It needs to comply with international law. It needs to cease its belligerent behavior and take action to improve relations with its neighbors. That’s what North Korea should do. As to what speculation, let’s see North Korea take these steps and then we’ll talk.”

“The U.S. remains open to meaningful dialogue. For North Korea, actions speak more loudly than words. There are very definite things that North Korea has to,” he added, implying Pyongyang should comply with international obligations and take meaningful steps toward denuclearization before starting dialogue.

Crowley’s comments could mean that the U.S. will endure an unfavorable situation under which no progress is made over the six-party talks if the North is confirmed to have been involved in the Cheonan incident. Yet considering Pyongyang’s obligations as preconditions to the resumption of the talks is difficult.

The Obama administration has emphasized the communist state’s denuclearization driven by the six-party talks. Undeniably, the Cheonan incident could be a good reason to slow progress in the talks, but Washington cannot continue to turn a blind eye to the dialogue.

Shortly after his inauguration, U.S. President Barack Obama announced his support for "a world without nuclear weapons” and released the Nuclear Posture Review saying he has no intention to use nuclear weapons to preemptively attack nuclear-free nations.

He has also stressed the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula via the six-party talks. Washington did not throw away its principle of dealing with Pyongyang’s nuclear program via the six-party talks even after the North conducted its second nuclear test in May last year.

The White House has cooperated with South Korea to investigate the sinking of the Cheonan, but is also keen on resuming the six-party talks. Nevertheless, the results of the Cheonan investigation and the North’s response will inevitably affect when the talks are resumed.

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