USA / Korea

U.S. Con­tin­ues to Mon­i­tor North Kore­an Sit­u­a­tion, Offi­cial Says

WASHINGTON, May 28, 2009 — The Unit­ed States gov­ern­ment — includ­ing the Pen­ta­gon — is “very close­ly” mon­i­tor­ing the sit­u­a­tion regard­ing North Korea’s recent nuclear device and mis­sile tests, a senior Defense Depart­ment offi­cial said here today.

Mean­while, Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma is employ­ing diplo­ma­cy and inter­na­tion­al pres­sure through the Unit­ed Nations to per­suade North Korea to elim­i­nate its nuclear weapons pro­gram.

Oba­ma “has made clear the path in which the Unit­ed States is going to take to try to resolve these issues,” Pen­ta­gon spokesman Bryan Whit­man told reporters.

“The record is clear: North Korea has pre­vi­ous­ly com­mit­ted to aban­don­ing its nuclear pro­gram,” Oba­ma told reporters at a May 25 White House news con­fer­ence, fol­low­ing reports that North Korea had con­duct­ed an under­ground nuclear-device test ear­li­er that day. North Korea, Oba­ma told reporters, “has cho­sen” to ignore its com­mit­ment to jet­ti­son its nuclear weapons pro­gram.

As a result of North Korea reneg­ing on its pledge, Oba­ma con­tin­ued, it will face stronger inter­na­tion­al efforts to per­suade it to com­ply with U.N. res­o­lu­tions.

It is believed that North Korea car­ried out its first under­ground nuclear test in Octo­ber 2006.

Sec­re­tary of State Hillary Rod­ham Clin­ton yes­ter­day con­demned North Korea’s May 25 under­ground test of a nuclear device, as well as its recent mis­sile tests. The Unit­ed States, she said, is work­ing with the Unit­ed Nations to con­vince North Korea to adhere to its pledge not to devel­op nuclear weapons or oth­er weapons of mass destruc­tion, to include bal­lis­tic mis­siles.

Whit­man said more-defin­i­tive knowl­edge whether North Korea had, indeed, con­duct­ed a nuclear-device test on May 25 could become avail­able dur­ing the next sev­er­al days.


By Ger­ry J. Gilmore
Amer­i­can Forces Press Ser­vice