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Feb 17th, 2009


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. …

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Related report

North Korea missile launch?

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Afghan Strategy Needs Overhaul, Report Argues

Image: US soldiers test fire Howitzer in Afghanistan
U.S. soldiers with the Army’s 1-6 Field Artillery Unit test fire an M198 Howitzer at a forward operating base in Kala Gush, Afghanistan, Monday, Feb. 16, 2009. (Photo credit: Spencer Platt / Getty Images)


Feb. 16, 2009

WASHINGTON – As President Barack Obama prepares to send troops to war for the first time as commander in chief, a new report says a “game-changing” strategy is urgently needed in Afghanistan to save the faltering international campaign.

“All is not lost in Afghanistan,” RAND Corp. experts said in a paper being released Tuesday by the congressionally funded United States Institute of Peace.

“But urgent measures — what might be called ‘game-changing steps’ – are now needed to stem an increasingly violent insurgency,” said authors Seth G. Jones and C. Christine Fair. …

The new think tank report adds to the growing consensus among officials and private analysts that sending more troops to the now 7-year-old war will mean little without a new strategy. …

The report says efforts to build a police force have been disappointing, and that work to disarm former combatants and militias is “all but moribund.” It notes that U.S. intelligence indicates Afghan officials are involved in the drug trade; traffickers have bought off hundreds of police chiefs, judges and officials, and it suggests the immediate firing of corrupt officials.

“The United States and its international allies must re-examine their core objectives in Afghanistan,” it said, adding that the first priority must be stopping the use of Afghanistan and neighboring Pakistan as a base for terrorist groups like al-Qaida and the Taliban.

Officials also must stop hoping they can build a central Afghan government strong enough to keep order across Afghanistan, the report said. It asserted that such a goal goes against the country’s history, and it recommended that tribes and local organizations must be fostered as well.

“It is unlikely the United States and NATO will defeat the Taliban and other insurgent groups in Afghanistan,” the report also said. So any additional troops sent should be used to mentor Afghan security forces on how to control the country themselves, it said. …

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12 Responses to “U.S. Warns N. Korea on Missiles”
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