U.S. Warns North Korea on Missiles

Clinton Warns North Korea Against Missile Launch

Image: Clinton at the Asia Society

U.S. Secretary Of State Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks at the Asia Society, Feb. 13, 2009 in New York. Clinton, on the eve of a trip to Japan, Indonesia, South Korea and China — her first in her new job – urged North Korea on Friday not to take any “provocative” actions that could undermine peace efforts. (Photo credit: Stephen Chernin / AP)

Feb. 16, 2009

TOKYO – Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said a possible missile launch hinted at by North Korea should not be carried out.

Clinton, in Japan on her first trip abroad as President Barack Obama’s chief diplomat, said Tuesday that such a launch would hurt relations.

She told a news conference: “The possible missile launch that North Korea is talking about would be very unhelpful.”

On Monday, the 67th birthday of leader Kim Jong Il, North Korea claimed it has the right to “space development” – a term it has used in the past to disguise a missile test as a satellite launch.

Pyongyang’s official Korean Central News Agency accused the United States and other countries of trying to block the country’s “peaceful scientific research” by linking it to a long-range missile test. …

During her plane trip, she implicitly criticized the Bush administration for abandoning the so-called 1994 Agreed Framework with North Korea, reached during President Bill Clinton’s first term in the White House, which called for the North to give up its plutonium-based weapons program.

The framework collapsed when the Bush team accused Pyongyang of maintaining a separate highly enriched uranium program, about which Secretary Clinton said there was still great debate. As a result, she said, the North had restarted and accelerated its plutonium program, allowing it to build a nuclear device that it had detonated in 2006.

Clinton said one goal of her trip was to demonstrate a new U.S. commitment to work with Asian leaders on “problems that no one nation, including ours, can deal with alone.”

The administration’s goal, she said, is to push climate change and the global financial crisis to or near the top of the agenda. Ongoing issues like North Korea’s nuclear programs and human rights in China will remain priorities, she added. … Full story