The U.S. ambassador on Wednesday urged North Korea to learn from the recent political and economic reforms in Myanmar to improve the lives of its own people, but warned the North's new leadership will be further isolated unless it abandons its nuclear ambitions.
U.S. Ambassador to South Korea Sung Kim also said his government has "lost confidence" in working toward resuming dialogue with North Korea after it reneged on the Feb. 29th deal with Washington, an agreement to swap denuclearization steps for food aid, by defiantly launching a long-range rocket in April.
"Burma and North Korea had many things in common, many bad things in common," Kim told a forum in Seoul, referring to Myanmar by its formally known name.
"But Burmese leadership recently made a very important decision. They decided to undertake serious political and economic reforms to try to improve the lives of their people," Kim said.
"The United States and other countries responded immediately to the positive decision," Kim said. "If North Korean leaders make the right decision, we will respond positively."
Diplomatic efforts to resume the six-party talks on ending North Korea's nuclear weapons programs have been frozen since the North's April 13 launch of a long-range rocket.
Although the defiant launch ended in failure, it drew strong condemnation from the U.N. Security Council as a disguised test of ballistic missile technology and led to the collapse of the so-called "Leap Day" deal with the U.S. under which Washington would resume food aid to Pyongyang in return for a monitored shutdown of the North's nuclear activities.
"Frankly, the Feb. 29th agreement was a part of efforts by us to see what the new North Korean leadership's approach to dialogue with nuclear issues would be," Kim said.
"But unfortunately, even before the ink dried on the Feb. 29th agreement, North Korea, in violation of international commitments and obligations, launched a long-range missile," said the ambassador, who served as Washington's chief envoy to the six-party talks before taking up the current job last year.
"Of course, we are disappointed by the actions North Korea took so soon after the Leap Day agreement,"
The North's April launch "made it impossible for us to return to the six-party process and any constructive negotiations," Kim said.
Kim warned that North Korea will achieve nothing by threats or provocations, saying "continuing to pursue nuclear weapons and missile capabilities will only further isolate North Korea.
Seven months after inheriting North Korea from his late father, the North's young leader Kim Jong-un was given the title of marshal last week, the highest functioning military rank, after sacking his army chief Ri Yong-ho, in what many analysts view as a move to further tighten his grip on power. (Yonhap)