North Koreans maintain hard line
TOKYO — The United States and Japan opened the door on Sunday to nuclear talks with North Korea if the saber-rattling country lowered tensions and honored past agreements, even as it rejected South Korea's latest offer of dialogue as a “crafty trick.”
Secretary of State John Kerry said in Tokyo that North Korea would find “ready partners” in the United States if it began abandoning its nuclear program.
Japan's foreign minister, Fumio Kishida, also demanded a resolution to a dispute concerning Japanese citizens abducted decades ago by North Korean officials.
The diplomats seemed to point the way for a possible revival of the six-nation talks that have been suspended for four years.
China has long pushed for the process to resume without conditions. But the United States and allies South Korea and Japan fear rewarding North Korea for its belligerence and the endless repetition of a cycle of tensions and failed talks that have prolonged the crisis.
Kerry's message of openness to diplomacy was clear, however unlikely the chances appeared that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's government would meet the American's conditions.
“I'm not going to be so stuck in the mud that an opportunity to actually get something done is flagrantly wasted because of a kind of predetermined stubbornness,” Kerry told U.S.-based journalists.
“You have to keep your mind open. But fundamentally, the concept is they're going to have to show some kind of good faith here so we're not going to around and around in the same-old, same-old,” he said.
Tensions have run high on the Korean peninsula for months, with North Korea testing a nuclear device and its intercontinental ballistic missile technology.
The reclusive communist state has not stopped there. It has issued almost daily threats that have included possible nuclear strikes against the United States. Analysts and foreign officials say that is still beyond the North Koreans' capability.
While many threats have been dismissed as bluster, U.S. and South Korean officials say they believe the North in the coming days may test a midrange missile designed to reach as far as Guam, the U.S. territory in the Pacific where the Pentagon is deploying a land-based missile defense system.
Japan is the last stop on a 10-day trip overseas for Kerry, who visited Seoul and Beijing as well in recent days.
In South Korea, he strongly warned North Korea not to launch a missile and he reaffirmed U.S. defense of its allies in the region.
In China, he secured a public pledge from Beijing, the lone government with significant influence over North Korea, to rid the North of nuclear weapons.
Before flying back to the United States, Kerry told students on Monday at the Tokyo Institute of Technology that the important thing was staying united on North Korea. He was also to meet with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
So far, Republican lawmakers in the United States have largely backed the Obama administration's efforts on North Korea.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Former Israeli PM Olmert sentenced to prison for taking campaign money from American
- 19 officers, 7 soldiers killed in siege of Afghan police compound
- Japan to participate in joint exercise with U.S., Australia
- Iran to try Washington Post reporter in closed court on spying charges
- Conservative populist Duda becomes Poland’s president
- Chlorine gas attacks in Syria blamed on Assad
- Tornado ravages U.S.-Mexico border towns
- Iraqi ambassador to U.S.: Global rejection of ISIS crucial
- U.S. commandos kill senior IS commander in Syria raid
- Army commando team kills senior Islamic State official in Syria raid
- Top U.S. advisers debate Iraqi strategy to fight ISIS