Washington: Even as it slapped sanctions
against North Korea, the Obama Administration has said it
ready to engage with them, but the onus for this lies on
Pyongyang; which has to show that the talks would be
constructive and it would meet its international commitment.
"We remain prepared to engage North Korea, but North
Korea has to demonstrate to us that such engagement would be
fruitful," State Department spokesman P J Crowley told
Noting that engagement is a means to an end, Crowley
said the US is certainly ready to engage North Korea when it
think that it can be constructive.
"Steve Bosworth was in Pyongyang with Sung Kim in
December. We have been prepared for other meetings with North
Korean officials," he said, adding whatever might have been
considered obviously was impacted by North Korea's sinking of
"This is where North Korea's actions and behaviour has
a very significant role in the process. If North Korea is
seeking to work constructively with the international
community, including the US, then there are definitely things
that North Korea can do or things that it should avoid doing.
It should avoid provocative actions as one example," he said.
The State Department spokesman said there are
agreements that North Korea has previously signed that outline
precisely what it is expected to do in terms of beginning the
process of denuclearization.
"But there are specific things that North Korea has
committed in the past to do and has occasionally taken a step
forward, two steps back. We want to see a more consistent
effort that shows North Korea's commitment to
denuclearization. We want to see North Korea avoid provocative
actions that increase tension and, in fact, impede progress in
this area," Crowley said.
"There were some things that we were fully prepared
to do earlier in this year, but the sinking of the 'Cheonan'
was a tragic, unnecessary, and severe step that ground this
process to a halt. We are willing to engage North Korea, but
North Korea is an actor in this process and the things that it
does can impact this process," he said.
Robert Einhorn, Special Advisor for Non Proliferation
and Arms Control, said the US continue to support negotiations
as the best way of achieving a denuclearized Korean Peninsula.
"North Korea abandoned negotiations nearly two years
ago, and repeatedly violated its own commitments under the
six-party talks. We're not prepared to reward North Korea
simply for returning to the negotiating table, including by
removing or reducing sanctions," Einhorn said.
"North Korea needs to demonstrate convincingly
through concrete actions that it's ready to take irreversible
steps to live up to its September 2005 commitments, especially
its commitment to denuclearize," he said.
Observing that the Obama administration has repeatedly
stressed, publicly as well as privately, that there is a
positive path open to North Korea, he said Pyongyang can cease
its provocative behavior, halt its belligerence toward it
neighbours, comply with international norms and take
irreversible steps to fulfill its denuclearization
"If North Korea chooses that path, sanctions will be
lifted, energy and other economic assistance will be provided,
its relations with the United States will be normalized and
the current armistice on the peninsula will be replaced by a
permanent peace agreement," he said.
"But if it continues its defiance and provocation,
it will continue to suffer the consequences, and actions like
today's to strengthen sanctions will only continue and
intensify," Einhorn warned.
First Published: Tuesday, August 31, 2010, 13:24