N. Korea high on agenda at G-8 meeting
WASHINGTON (Yonhap) -- U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Wednesday that she and her G-8 counterparts will discuss ways to reduce tensions on the Korean Peninsula, with North Korea set to launch a long-range ballistic rocket.
"I think we all share a strong interest in stability on the Korean Peninsula and we will be discussing how best to achieve that," the secretary said at the start of a meeting with foreign ministers of the Group of Eight major economies.
The two-day session, under way at the Blair House, a state guest house near the White House, comes ahead of the G-8 Summit to be held at Camp David May 18-19. The group also involves Russia, Germany, France, Britain, Japan, Canada and Italy,
Clinton accused Pyongyang of pushing for such a provocative move at the cost of a Feb. 29 deal under which it pledged to suspend missile and nuclear activities. In return, the U.S. had planned to provide massive food aid.
"North Korea is readying a long-range ballistic missile launch over the East China Sea. It comes just weeks after North Korea agreed to a moratorium on missile testing," Clinton said. "It violates multiple U.N. Security Council resolutions."
The North is banned from using ballistic missile technology under the resolutions adopted after a long-range rocket launch and a nuclear test in 2009.
The reclusive communist nation claims that it is just seeking to put a satellite into orbit, which is a sovereign right.
The North is expected to launch a rocket as early as on Wednesday evening (Washington time).
The State Department, meanwhile said, the G-8 members will issue a formal document on North Korea.
"We do expect to have a chairman's statement. It will be released, I would guess, at the end of the meeting tomorrow, late morning," department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said at a daily news briefing.
Nuland noted Pyongyang's record of provocative actions.
"When the North has been provocative, it often comes not just as a single incident but it sometimes comes in twos and threes," she said.
But she would not be drawn into a question whether Pyongyang's latest move is to solidify the authority of new leader Kim Jong-un.
Hours earlier in Korea, Kim was granted the new post of first secretary of the ruling Workers' Party at a special conference.
Titles are very symbolic in the North. Kim, reportedly in his late 20s, became a four-star general last year.
In the wake of the death of his father, Kim Jong-il, in December, the junior Kim was dubbed as Great Successor, Supreme Leader and Great Leader by the North's state media.