In the News – Clinton says U.S. willing to work with North Korea if it reforms

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In the News – Clinton says U.S. willing to work with North Korea if it reforms

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (L) gestures as she speaks next to China's Vice Premier Wang Qishan at the joint statement reading for the closing of the US-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue at Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing May 4, 2012. Clinton told Chinese President Hu Jintao on Friday that relations between their two countries were the strongest they had ever been, even as the two countries are engaged in a spat over China's treatment of a blind dissident. REUTERS-Jason Lee

By Andrew Quinn

BEIJING | Fri May 4, 2012 9:01am EDT

(Reuters) – Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Friday that the United States was willing to work withNorth Korea if it changed its ways, and also said more pressure should be brought to bear on Sudan and Syria.

Speaking in Beijing at the end of two-days of high-level meetings overshadowed by a crisis over a Chinese dissident who had sought refuge at the U.S. embassy, Clinton sought to underscore that Washington and Beijing could still work together on key international issues.

“We see two nations that are now thoroughly and inescapably interdependent,” Clinton said in prepared remarks in the closed door meeting.

On North Korea, where the United States wants China to put more pressure on the isolated nation’s leadership to reign in its nuclear ambitions, Clinton said Washington was still willing to work with Pyongyang if it changes its ways.

“The new leadership in Pyongyang still has the opportunity to change course and put their people first. If they focus on honoring their commitments and rejoining the international community, and on feeding and educating their citizens, the United States will welcome them and work with them,” she said. Continue reading

In the News – U.N. Security Council discusses concerns about North Korea launch

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In the News – U.N. Security Council discusses concerns about North Korea launch

Pyongyang, North Korea (CNN) — The U.N. Security Council on Friday discussed North Korea’s botched rocket launch amid concerns that the secretive and often unpredictable regime may follow it with a nuclear test or military move.

“Members of the Security Council deplored this launch,” said U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice, speaking on behalf of the council in her capacity as council president. “Members of the Security Council agreed to continue consultations on an appropriate response, in accordance with its responsibilities given the urgency of the matter.”

The rocket broke apart Friday 81 seconds after its launch at 7:38 a.m., then fell into the ocean, a U.S. official said.

The launch drew condemnation from United States and countries in the region, as well as an unusual admission of failure from Pyongyang. After previous failed launches, the normally secretive regime has insisted that they were successful.

“Scientists, technicians and experts are now looking into the cause of the failure,” North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency said in a report, which was read on state-run television.

North Korea said the rocket was designed to carry an observation satellite into orbit. But the United States, South Korea and Japan said that was a cover for a long-range ballistic missile test. Continue reading

In the News – Defiant North Korea says rocket launch to go ahead

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In the News – Defiant North Korea says rocket launch to go ahead

(Reuters) – North Korea on Sunday rejected criticism of its planned long-range missile launch which threatens to upset its only major benefactor, China, and put relations with the United States back in the freezer just as they seemed to be starting to thaw.

Political analysts say the launch, which would violate U.N. resolutions on the heavily sanctioned state, is aimed at boosting the legitimacy of its young new ruler Kim Jong-un who inherited power after his father’s death in December.

“The peaceful development and use of space is a universally recognized legitimate right of a sovereign state,” the North’s state KCNA news agency said.

North Korea says it is using the rocket to launch a satellite to mark the 100th anniversary of the birth of Kim Il-sung, the country’s founding ruler and grandfather of the current ruler.

The United States, and others, say it is much the same as a ballistic missile test and therefore off-limits for the isolated state which has for years been trying to build a nuclear arsenal.

Washington, which last month agreed to supply North Korea with food in exchange for a suspension of nuclear tests, missile launches and uranium enrichment and to allow nuclear inspectors into the country, called the planned launch “highly provocative”.

More troubling perhaps for Pyongyang, which is long accustomed to trading invective with Washington, Beijing called the planned launch a “worry” in a rare attempt to put public pressure on its impoverished ally.

The North has invited foreign observers and journalists to attend the launch.

It announced the planned launch on Friday just weeks after the deal with Washington. It will coincide with the 100th anniversary of the birth of its founder Kim Il-sung.

In April 2009, North Korea conducted a ballistic rocket launch that resulted in a new round of U.N. sanctions, squeezing the secretive state’s already troubled economy and deepening its isolation.

That launch was dismissed as a failure after the first stage fell into the Sea of Japan without placing a satellite in orbit. Another test failed in similar circumstances in 1998.

The new launch is due to take place between April 12-16, to coincide with Kim Il-sung’s centenary celebrations and will coincide with parliamentary elections in South Korea.

Japan has said it would consider deploying PAC3 missile interceptors as it did in a 2009 launch by North Korea.

(Reporting by Sung-won Shim; Editing by David Chance and Jonathan Thatcher)

Original article can be found here.