Ex-US Diplomat Says North Korea ‘Dangerous’ If Ignored

Posted April 5th, 2012 at 3:40 am (UTC-5)
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The former U.S. envoy to North Korea says the Obama administration must continue to engage with Pyongyang, even if goes through with a rocket launch scheduled for this month.

Stephen Bosworth told VOA's Korean Service this week that the United States has always made clear to the North Koreans that it is opposed to the regime launching a long-range missile, regardless of its reasons.

“It's been clear I think from the beginning, from the beginning of this latest effort at re-engagement, that the United States would not accept North Korean assertion that an attempted satellite launch was not a long-range missile test. This is an argument they tried to use before and we rejected it in 2009. It is a clear violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions, so I think that the outcome was predetermined.”

Pyongyang claims the launch is aimed at placing a weather satellite in orbit, as part of the celebration of the 100th birthday of the late North Korean founder, Kim Il Sung.

The United States has already said it will withhold food aid to the North if it goes through with the launch, as Bosworth believes it will. Washington won an agreement from North Korea in February for it to suspend all nuclear activities and long-range ballistic missile launches, in exchange for sending the impoverished nation 240,000 tons of food.

Bosworth says there will not be “a lot of appetite” for more negotiations in the near future if the missile launch goes ahead, as he believes it will. But he says the administration must keep its lines of communication with North Korea open, simply because there are no good options to resolve the matter.

“Well, I think it is a mistake to try to leave North Korea in a position where they have no stake in ongoing discussions. When they're left unattached, they tend to do other dangerous things.”

Bosworth resumed his position as dean of Tufts University's law school in Boston in October after serving as U.S. envoy to nuclear talks with North Korea for two and a half years.