• 82°

Kerry warns N. Korea on ‘reckless’ provocations

WASHINGTON (AP) — Secretary of State John Kerry on Tuesday warned North Korea to halt a recent spate of rhetoric and actions, calling them provocative, dangerous and reckless. He also vowed that the United States would defend itself and its allies South Korea and Japan from North Korean threats.
Kerry’s comments came after North Korea ratcheted up an almost daily string of threats toward the three nations with an announcement that it would revive a long-dormant nuclear reactor and ramp up production of atomic weapons material.
Speaking to reporters at a joint news conference with South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se, Kerry said the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, or DPRK, knows that the U.S. is fully prepared and capable of defending itself and its allies.
“The bottom line, very simply, is that what Kim Jong-Un has been choosing to do is provocative, it is dangerous, reckless, and the United States will not accept the DPRK as a nuclear state,” Kerry said, referring to North Korea’s young new leader.
A North Korean official said the country would quickly begin “readjusting and restarting” the facilities at its main Nyongbyon nuclear complex, including the plutonium reactor and a uranium enrichment plant. It had been shuttered as part of international nuclear disarmament talks in 2007 that have since stalled.
Kerry said such a step would be “a direct violation” of North Korea’s international commitments and a “very serious step.”
“It would be a provocative act and completely contrary to the road we have traveled for all these years,” he said.
Still, both Kerry and his South Korean counterpart said the door remained open for North Korea to return to multi-national nuclear disarmament talks.
Yun said those talks remain a “useful tool” for getting North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons, although he conceded it would be a very difficult task. “We should continue these efforts,” he said.
“If North Korea decides to give up its nuclear ambitions and to become a member of the international community, we are prepared to resume talks” for peace on the Korean Peninsula, he said.
Yun said South Korean President Park Geun-hye is open to building a trusting relationship with North Korea but that Seoul would respond to provocations from Pyongyang. It was critical that the U.S. and South Korea continue to enhance their defense capabilities, he said.
The White House said President Barack Obama’s entire national security team was focused on North Korea, although some U.S. officials did cast doubt on whether North Korea would follow through on its threat to restart the reactor, portraying the latest threat as part of a pattern of antagonistic taunts that, so far, have not been backed up by action.
State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said that development would be “extremely alarming” but added: “There’s a long way to go between a stated intention and actually being able to pull it off.”
Still, the Pentagon suggested the administration is concerned about the prospect for further escalation of tensions and it has made a conspicuous display of firepower in recent weeks, sending B-52 and B-2 bombers on practice runs over South Korea, as well as deploying F-22 stealth fighters and repositioning a missile-defense ship off the Korean coast.
These moves and others are meant to deter North Korea from launching even a limited military strike against the South, while also offering reassurance to Seoul that the U.S. will stick to its treaty obligation to defend the South against attack.
“We are looking for the temperature to be taken down,” Pentagon spokesman George Little told reporters. “We are in the business of assuring our South Korean allies that we will help defend them in the face of threats.”
At the White House, press secretary Jay Carney called on Russia and China, two countries he said have influence with North Korea, to use that influence to persuade the North to change course.

Comments

Comments closed.

Coronavirus

For first time since February, Rowan records two COVID-19 deaths in one day

Crime

Salisbury man receives up to 20 months for carrying gun while subject to domestic violence order, having fake license plate

Coronavirus

Rowan County COVID-19 vaccination numbers see major improvement after inclusion of new data

News

Top shot: World champion skeet shooter conquers competition, helps grow sport

Business

Local cultural institutions receive funding from Shuttered Venue Operators Grant program

Local

David Freeze: New Mexico brings mostly flat roads

Education

Rowan-Salisbury Schools teachers reflect on summer institute

Education

Education briefs: Superintendent awards excellence in educational performance

Kannapolis

Mayor Alexander talks infrastructure, growth with Kannapolis, Concord mayors on ‘Charlotte Talks’ radio show

Legion baseball

Baseball: Honeycutt excited, humbled by being drafted

High School

High school football preview: Falcons have experienced offense

Local

Olympics: Livingstone graduate Hayes among final eight in 400

Local

Freeze: Day 9 — What makes the best day

Crime

Salisbury Police talk worsening crime data, initiatives at first Neighborhood Action Group meeting

Local

Spencer’s Park Plaza town hall project still on track, change order coming

Education

RCCC names new foundation director

News

North Carolina experts worry as schools don’t require masks

News

NC sports betting bill gets winning vote from Senate panel

Crime

Salisbury man charged with 79-year-old woman’s murder says cellphone location resulted in charges

Health

Salisbury City Council will return to virtual meetings, require face masks in city buildings

Landis

Landis goes big with two helicopters for National Night Out

Local

Spencer and East Spencer join forces for National Night Out

Local

City Council approves Grants Landing development on Rowan Mill Road

Education

In lighter-than-usual year, RSS nutrition staff serve more than 100,000 summer meals