North Korea's recent withdrawal from denuclearization talks cost it $95 million in U.S. funding for energy assistance for the reclusive nation, Kyodo News reported today (see GSN, May 21).
The Senate yesterday followed the lead of an earlier House of Representatives action by writing the North Korea aid package out of a supplemental budget for this fiscal year.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said this week that Washington would not continue providing aid to the North if Pyongyang did not return to the six-party negotiations with the China, Japan, Russia, South Korea, and the United States. North Korea announced last month that it would no longer participate in the talks -- which had moved the regime toward denuclearization before stalling in late 2008 -- after being condemned by the U.N. Security Council for launching a rocket on April 5 (Kyodo News I, May 22).
Former Japanese Foreign Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi yesterday said China intended to keep trying to bring North Korea back to the negotiating table, Kyodo reported. Beijing has hosted the years-long diplomatic effort.
Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi offered the pledge during a meeting this week with Kawaguchi and Australian Foreign Minister Gareth Evans.
"We were told that China, as chair of the six-party talks, will continue trying to bring North Korea back to the meeting," she said (Kyodo News II, May 21).