Clinton: U.S. shares concerns on N. Korea

Jan. 29, 2013 at 10:31 PM
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WASHINGTON, Jan. 29 (UPI) -- North Korea's new leader, instead of improving the lives of his people, is engaged in "very provocative" behavior, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said.

Speaking from Washington to a group of international students, the outgoing secretary answered a number of questions including one from a Japanese student about the nuclear threats from North Korea under its new leader Kim Jong Un, who completed one year at the helm in December.

Clinton said the United States shares the concerns of Japan and those of others in the entire region about "what the new regime in North Korea is doing and threatening."

North Korea, growing increasingly belligerent, has threatened more nuclear tests after the 15-member U.N. Security Council last week unanimously approved a resolution tightening its existing sanctions against the isolated and impoverished Communist country for its December long-range rocket launch in violation of those sanctions. Those were put in place after the North conducted missile and two nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009.

"And let me express my regret, because I think with a new young leader we all expected something different," Clinton said. "We expected him to focus on improving the lives of the North Korean people, not just the elite, but everyone to have more education, more openness, more opportunity. And instead, he has engaged in very provocative rhetoric and behavior."

Clinton said nations would need "to work closely together to try to change the behavior of the North Korean regime."

The secretary said she has held extensive conversations with her Japanese, Korean, Russian and Chinese counterparts "because this is a threat to all of us." However, she said it was still hoped "there is a way to convince the North Korean regime not to pursue this path."

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