U.S. Continues to Monitor North Korean Situation, Official Says
By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, May 28, 2009 The United States government -- including the Pentagon -- is “very closely” monitoring the situation regarding North Korea’s recent nuclear device and missile tests, a senior Defense Department official said here today.
Meanwhile, President Barack Obama is employing diplomacy and international pressure through the United Nations to persuade North Korea to eliminate its nuclear weapons program.
Obama “has made clear the path in which the United States is going to take to try to resolve these issues,” Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman told reporters.
“The record is clear: North Korea has previously committed to abandoning its nuclear program,” Obama told reporters at a May 25 White House news conference, following reports that North Korea had conducted an underground nuclear-device test earlier that day. North Korea, Obama told reporters, “has chosen” to ignore its commitment to jettison its nuclear weapons program.
As a result of North Korea reneging on its pledge, Obama continued, it will face stronger international efforts to persuade it to comply with U.N. resolutions.
It is believed that North Korea carried out its first underground nuclear test in October 2006.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton yesterday condemned North Korea’s May 25 underground test of a nuclear device, as well as its recent missile tests. The United States, she said, is working with the United Nations to convince North Korea to adhere to its pledge not to develop nuclear weapons or other weapons of mass destruction, to include ballistic missiles.
Whitman said more-definitive knowledge whether North Korea had, indeed, conducted a nuclear-device test on May 25 could become available during the next several days.