Clinton Invites North Korean Official to U.S. For Talks

WASHINGTON, July 25, 2011 — Two weeks after the chair­man of the Joint Chiefs of Staff called for strong mul­ti­lat­er­al deter­rence against a con­tin­u­ing North Kore­an threat, Sec­re­tary of State Hillary Rod­ham Clin­ton announced yes­ter­day that the Unit­ed States has invit­ed a top North Kore­an diplo­mat to New York for talks aimed at restart­ing the stalled Six-Par­ty Talks.

Fol­low­ing the first round of denu­cleariza­tion talks between the nuclear nego­tia­tors of the Repub­lic of Korea and North Korea, the Unit­ed States has invit­ed North Kore­an Vice Min­is­ter Kim Kae-gwan to New York lat­er this week,” Clin­ton said.

Kim will meet with an inter­a­gency team of U.S. offi­cials for dis­cus­sions on the next steps nec­es­sary to resume denu­cleariza­tion nego­ti­a­tions through the talks.

This will be an explorato­ry meet­ing to deter­mine if North Korea is pre­pared to affirm its oblig­a­tions under inter­na­tion­al and Six-Par­ty Talk com­mit­ments, as well as take con­crete and irre­versible steps toward denu­cleariza­tion,” she said.

Clin­ton empha­sized that the Unit­ed States does “not intend to reward the North just for return­ing to the table” or “give them any­thing new for actions they have already agreed to take.”

The Unit­ed States has “no appetite for pur­su­ing pro­tract­ed nego­ti­a­tions [with North Korea] that will lead us right back to where we have already been,” she added.

Clin­ton deliv­ered her state­ment after what she termed “a very pro­duc­tive” tri­lat­er­al meet­ing with South Kore­an For­eign Min­is­ter Kim Sung-hwan and Japan­ese For­eign Min­is­ter Takea­ki Mat­sumo­to.

Joint Chiefs Chair­man Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, speak­ing to reporters dur­ing a mid-July vis­it to the South Kore­an cap­i­tal of Seoul, stressed the impor­tance of mul­ti­lat­er­al coop­er­a­tion in deter­ring North Kore­an provo­ca­tions against its south­ern neigh­bor and prod­ding it to return to the Six-Par­ty Talks.

The Unit­ed States and its South Kore­an coun­ter­parts are work­ing with a “sense of urgency” on plans to deter more provo­ca­tions such as the sink­ing of the South Kore­an navy ship Cheo­nan in March 2010 and the artillery strike on Yeon­pyeong Island in Novem­ber, Mullen said.

The threat remains real,” Mullen said dur­ing the July 14 round­table. “North Korea shows no sign of relent­ing in pur­suit of its nuclear capa­bil­i­ties, and I am not con­vinced that they will not pro­voke again. The only thing that is pre­dictable about North Korea is their unpre­dictabil­i­ty.”

Mullen, under­scor­ing the strength of the South Korean-U.S. alliance, warned that future attacks won’t be tol­er­at­ed and that North Korea should expect “a very strong response” should one occur.

The chair­man called for strong, mul­ti­lat­er­al coop­er­a­tion to deter North Kore­an aggres­sion.

I believe a mea­sured, mul­ti­lat­er­al approach is need­ed, not just now, but … for a long time into the future,” he said. “We all stand to gain from a sta­ble penin­su­la.”

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)