North Korean and Chinese officials have called for the resumption of six-party talks on Pyongyang's nuclear program, Chinese authorities said Wednesday.
The announcement came as North Korea's chief nuclear negotiator, Kim Kye Gwan, was in Beijing for bilateral talks.
Kim and China's Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Yesui issued statements Wednesday calling for the resumption of the talks to "peacefully solve nuclear issues through dialogue" with all relevant parties.
North Korea, South Korea, China, Japan, the United States and Russia met last decade to deal with North Korea's nuclear weapons program but those meetings had been discontinued.FULL STORY
By Holly Yan, CNN
President Barack Obama will ask Russia to join the United States in slashing its supply of strategic nuclear warheads by about one-third, a senior administration official said.
Obama will announce the goal during a speech Wednesday in Berlin - a city rife with Cold War history.
The president will also outline his goal to reduce U.S. and Russian tactical nuclear weapons in Europe, the official said. The president hopes to work with NATO allies on proposals toward that goal.
It's all part of Obama's "vision of achieving the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons," the official said.
"We will seek to negotiate these reductions with Russia to continue to move beyond Cold War nuclear postures," the official added.
Obama's speech will take place almost exactly 50 years after President John F. Kennedy delivered his "Ich bin ein Berliner" - or "I am a Berliner" - speech in the city that was divided by Western and Soviet occupations during the Cold War.FULL STORY
By Barbara Starr
In an unprecedented action, an Air Force commander has stripped 17 of his officers of their authority to control and launch nuclear missiles.
The 17 are being sent to undergo 60 to 90 days of intensive refresher training on how to do their jobs. The action comes after their unit performed poorly on an inspection and one officer was investigated for potential compromise of nuclear launch codes, according to Lt. Col. John Dorrian, an Air Force spokesman.
The story was first reported by The Associated Press.
The action was taken by the deputy commander of the 91st Operations Group, Lt. Col. Jay Folds, whose officers run launch control centers for the Minuteman III nuclear missiles from Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota.
By Pam Benson and Chris Lawrence
Despite the uproar over a disclosure this week of Pentagon intelligence concluding North Korea may be able to deliver a nuclear weapon on a ballistic missile, it's not the first time the Defense Intelligence Agency has suggested Pyongyang had that capability.
Since 2005, two former DIA chiefs have raised the possibility during congressional testimony.
At a Senate Armed Service Committee hearing in April 2005, then-DIA director Vice Admiral Lowell Jacoby acknowledged the possibility in response to a question about whether North Korea had the capability to put a nuclear device on a missile.
"The assessment is that they have the capability to do that," Jacoby said.
By Elise Labott
In the days before North Korea’s latest round of threats and provocations, US and North Korean officials met in New York, although nothing came of the meeting, said a source familiar with what transpired. The source described the meeting as part of regular backchannel exchanges between the countries.
Clifford Hart, the US envoy for six party talks aimed at North Korean denuclearization, met with North Korea’s Deputy UN Ambassador Han Song-ryol in mid March, according to the source.
Hart repeated the Obama administration’s call for North Korea to avoid provocative actions and urged a return to diplomacy. Han promised to communicate the message back to Pyongyang, the source said.
The meeting was held as part of the so-called “New York channel,” a backchannel typically used to communicate and pass messages between Washington and Pyongyang in the absence of normal relations. In February, North Korea used the New York channel to warn the State Department about its third nuclear test.
The meeting was first reported by the Foreign Policy magazine blog, The Cable.
By Ivan Watson, CNN
Representatives from six world powers and Iran returned to the negotiating table Friday in Kazakhstan for fresh talks aimed at breaking the deadlock over Iran's controversial nuclear program.
When negotiators from the six-nation diplomatic bloc last sat down with Iran's envoy in the Kazakh city of Almaty in February, they delivered what they characterized as a "fair and balanced offer" to defuse tensions over the Iranian nuclear program.
"We are waiting to see how Iran responds to the proposal we put on the table," Michael Mann, a European Union spokesman, told journalists shortly after negotiations resumed on Friday.
Details of the offer from the six governments have not yet been made public. EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton described it as a "very clear and concise proposal" for confidence building measures.
Last March, technical experts from Iran and the so-called "P5+1" countries, which consist of the United States, France, Britain, Germany, China and Russia, met for more than 12 hours in Istanbul to discuss the proposal.FULL STORY
By Elise Labott
Senior administration officials say North Korea's threats to restart its nuclear reactor is part of a pattern of North Korea asserting itself as a nuclear weapons state. The North Koreans want the U.S. to deal with them as they dealt with the Soviets: the U.S. accepted them as a nuclear power and then they held talks as two nuclear states.
North Korea has repeatedly said it would rather have "arms control" talks with the U.S. as opposed to talks about disarming its nuclear program.
"This is part of a premeditated campaign to force acceptance of their nuclear status," one of the officials said, who added, "it's not going to happen. It would blow up the entire global non-proliferation regime."
Officials say they have not seen any signs the North has begun reconstituting facilities they've shut down. But the officials say they do already have a uranium workshop up and running and are "within months" of completing construction of a small plutonium reactor.
By Jill Dougherty and Pam Benson
More than a month after North Korea tested a nuclear device, the United States is unable to pinpoint whether the regime was able to use uranium to fuel the explosion, a capability that would represent a significantly enhanced nuclear program.
The lack of clarity comes as North Korea ratchets up its bellicose rhetoric each day.
New video broadcast on North Korean television showed the nation's leader, Kim Jong Un, addressing his troops along the border on Monday and issuing a blood-chilling threat, "Throw all enemies into the caldron, break their waists and crack their windpipes." It was the same location he and his late father visited in November 2010, just two days before the North shelled an island, killing four South Koreans.
The bellicose comments have been intensifying over the past months, increasing worry about Kim's unpredictability.
By Richard Roth and Jethro Mullen
The U.N. Security Council is expected to meet Tuesday to consider a proposed resolution to authorize more sanctions against North Korea following the secretive regime's controversial nuclear test last month.
Pyongyang said the underground nuclear blast it conducted on February 12 was more powerful than its two previous detonations and used a smaller, lighter device, suggesting advances in its weapons program.
It was the first nuclear test the isolated state has carried out since its young leader, Kim Jong Un, inherited power in December 2011 after the death of his father, Kim Jong Il, who made building up North Korea's military strength the focus of his 17-year rule.
Like the regime's previous tests in 2006 and 2009, the move prompted widespread international condemnation, as well as a promise of tough action at the United Nations.
The United States and China, a key North Korean ally, have been negotiating for weeks on the wording of a proposed Security Council resolution.FULL STORY
By Mark Morgenstein
Iran is not cooperating, making it difficult for the UN's nuclear watchdog agency to provide "credible assurance" that the country doesn't possess undeclared nuclear material, the International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Yukiya Amano said Monday.
Speaking to the IAEA's board of governors, Amano said Iran should grant access "without further delay" to the Parchin military complex, where the Islamic Republic is believed to have tested rockets.
Since Iran has not provided such access to date, "The Agency therefore cannot conclude that all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities," Amano said.
Amano noted that Iran has recently begun installing IR-2m centrifuges at its fuel enrichment plant at Natanz, and that those high-speed devices that rotate to enrich uranium are more advanced than the previously-installed centrifuges.
The IAEA board has been trying to negotiate cooperation from Iran for years.FULL STORY