- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 24, 2012

The United States is getting tired of mixed messages from North Korea, a U.S. envoy said Thursday, warning the secretive, communist nation against further “provocations” such as its failed rocket launch last month.

Glyn Davies, special representative for North Korea policy, told reporters in Tokyo that the latest from the North this week was “difficult” to analyze.

“It’s a mixed message, and what we’re looking for is really an end to mixed messages from North Korea and a beginning of a more positive track with them, based on better decisions from them about the choices they make,” he said.

A North Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman on Tuesday warned that his government would take “counter-measures for self-defense” if the United States “persists in its moves to ratchet up sanctions and pressure upon use despite our peace-loving efforts.”

Mr. Davies said some observers interpret that statement as a signal that the North has no plans for further missiles tests but others see it as a warning to the United States.

Mr. Davies talked to reporters after meetings with Shinsuke Sugiyama, Japan’s envoy to the stalled North Korean nuclear disarmaments talks; Tsuyoshi Yamaguchi, the senior vice foreign minister, and Kenichiro Sasae, a vice foreign minister.

In South Korea on Thursday, U.S. Ambassador Sung Kim blamed North Korea for the “bad decisions” that cost it 240,000 tons of U.S. food aid to feed its severely malnourished population. The United States canceled the aid after North Korea fired what Washington suspected was a long-range missile, which fell into the sea on April 13.

“Bad decisions led to the terrible situation we se today,” Mr. Kim said at a forum hosted by the Far East Broadcasting Co. “I think the saddest part of this episode is that by going through with the launch, North Korea prevented us from proceeding with a humanitarian package for its people.”

In Washington this week, the U.S.-Korea Institute said new satellite imagery shows that North Korea is upgrading a missile launching site to handle long-range rockets that could reach the United States.


In a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, the chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the senior Democrat on the panel expressed frustration with the Obama administration’s delay in resettling Iranian dissidents in Iraq.

The letter from Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Florida Republican, and Rep. Brad Sherman, California Democrat, follows a committee hearing last week in which a State Department adviser insisted that the administration cannot confirm whether the 3,000 former rebels have been disarmed.

The claim by Daniel Fried contradicts repeated testimony from retired U.S. generals who were responsible for overseeing the dissidents in Camp Ashraf, north of Baghdad. Retired Army Brig. Gen. David Phillips and other top military officers have said they supervised the disarmament of the dissidents after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.

“We are deeply concerned about recent claims … by the Department of State that the department is not able to confirm whether Camp Ashraf in Iraq is fully disarmed,” Mrs. Ros-Lehtinen and Mr. Sherman said in their letter.

The State Department has been under a federal court order since 2010 to review the legal status of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran, which has been on a U.S. terrorist list since 1997.

U.S. military commanders have interviewed all of the camp residents and determined they posed no terror threat to the United States, but the State Department has refused to remove them from the blacklist.

The Iraqi government, in moves to improve relations with Iran, has used the U.S. terrorist designation to intimidate the dissidents and invade the camp several times.

Most Camp Ashraf residents have been relocated to another base near Baghdad International Airport.

Call Embassy Row at 202/636-3297 or email jmorrison@washington times.com. The column is published on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.



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