John Kerry on North Korea

January 27, 2013 7:00 AM

Thanks to Roberta Cohen, we were alerted to an interesting passage in John Kerry’s Statement before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Thursday.

Kerry reiterated a tough line on Iran, where he noted that the policy of the administration was not containment but prevention. No mention was made of North Korea in the context of his remarks on non-proliferation, where it is clearly too late for “prevention.” As we noted in an earlier post, there is at least some paper trail suggesting Kerry might be willing to try something different. Yet as we have also noted over the last several days, the North Koreans are hardly making it easy.

However, Kerry also emphasized that US foreign policy cannot be defined by “drones and deployments alone”:

“American foreign policy is also defined by food security and energy security, humanitarian assistance, the fight against disease and the push for development, as much as it is by any single counter terrorism initiative. It is defined by leadership on life threatening issues like climate change, or fighting to lift up millions of lives by promoting freedom and democracy from Africa to the Americas or speaking out for the prisoners of gulags in North Korea or millions of refugees and displaced persons and victims of human trafficking.”

Examples of this sort are not chosen lightly. We reported recently on comments by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights about the need for a commission of inquiry, with the prison camp system as an obvious focus. Is the new Secretary of State signing us on to this effort?

Comments

Adam Cathcart

Thanks for the post. Has the full text/transcript of the testimony been released yet? Opening statement here: http://www.foreign.senate.gov/press/chair/release/senator-john-kerrys-op... there is the full four hours or so of Kerry's testimony on C-Span, which is probably a worthwhile slog in certain respects: http://www.c-span.org/Events/Confirmation-Hearing-for-Sen-John-Kerry-as-...

Adam Cathcart

Kerry himself didn't have much incisive to say about China or American strategy in "the Far East" generally at the hearing. Partly a function of questions asked. In response to a China question from the junior senator from Connecticut, he sandwiched in a statement that "there might be more we [and the PRC] could perhaps do with respect to North Korea." That sounds like two "maybes" to me. His China answer and this little dependent clause about US-PRC cooperation to "do more" about North Korea can be found from 03:25:07 to 03:31:30 in the C-Span clip. What a shame it would be if Rodong Sinmun decided to ignore the confirmation hearing, and John Kerry, altogether.

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