In the News – U.S. cancels food aid for N. Korea: White House

In the News – U.S. cancels food aid for N. Korea: White House

By Lee Chi-dong
WASHINGTON, April 13 (Yonhap) — In its first step to punish North Korea for its latest rocket launch, the Obama administration announced Friday that it would nullify a deal with Pyongyang to provide massive food aid.

“We are not going forward with an agreement to provide them with any assistance,” the White House’s deputy national security adviser, Ben Rhodes, told reporters.

He said the North would face further measures if it continues to engage in “provocative behavior.”

Pyongyang fired a multistage rocket on Thursday, defying Washington’s repeated warnings, but the launch failed.

The U.S. was widely expected to scrap the food aid plan. Rhodes’ comments were formal confirmation of Washington’s decision not to go ahead with the assistance.

In New York, the U.N. Security Council “deplored” Pyongyang’s act in a verbal statement apparently prior to the release of a written response.

“Members of the Security Council deplored this launch which is in violation of Security Council resolutions 1718 and 1874,” Amb. Susan Rice, the U.S. permanent representative to the U.N., said after an emergency session.

The U.S. holds the rotating chairmanship of the 15-member panel this month.

South Korea’s ambassador to the U.N., Kim Sook, met with Rice before the meeting to clarify Seoul’s position that the North should be punished for the attempted launch. The South is not a member of the council.

Rice said the council members agreed to continue discussions on an “appropriate response.”

Many expect the council to issue a strongly worded chairman’s statement instead of adopting another binding resolution against Pyongyang.

Earlier in the day, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had phone consultations with her Chinese counterpart, Yang Jiechi.

“We are asking them (Chinese officials) to use their relationship with North Korea to convey our concern about their recent actions,” Mark Toner, deputy spokesman for Clinton, said at a press briefing.

One of the things that Clinton stressed was the need to consult closely with other members of the six-party team, he said, referring to nuclear talks with North Korea that also involve South Korea, Russia and Japan.

“And that we move together in a deliberate and unified way to speak out and condemn this action,” added Toner.

On a visit to Moscow, meanwhile, the Chinese foreign minister reiterated Beijing’s typical calls for all relevant parties to “demonstrate calmness and restraint and not undermine the peace and the stability on the Korean Peninsula and in the region.”

Original article can be found here.

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