U.S. is not waiting for North Korea to act

The U.S. is engaged in active diplomacy in the Asia-Pacific region and is not waiting for North Korea to live up to nonproliferation obligations, a State Department official said on Tuesday.

Glyn Davies, the special representative for North Korea Policy with the State Department, made the statement on Tuesday in Seoul after a series of productive meetings with South Korean representatives. When asked how long the U.S. would wait for North Korea to live up to its international obligations, Davies said that the U.S. is taking an active role in the Asia-Pacific region.

"The United States is not waiting for North Korea," Davies said. "The United States is engaged in very active diplomacy, in the first instance with the government of the Republic of Korea. Next, obviously, with Japan, our allies. But importantly, at the level of the five parties. Very active diplomacy, constant stream of consultations, conversations... we have been active in discussing this problem with nations all over the world. And I think the world saw the result of that after the February 12 nuclear test when, as you have all reported, some 80 nations and international organizations condemned North Korea's actions. So, the United States is not waiting for anything."

Davies also responded to a question about the recent removal of missiles from North Korean launch sites and back to North Korea. When asked if the U.S. saw the removal of the missiles as a conciliatory sign, Davies said that a lack of bad behavior does not count as progress.

"I do not think that we should any longer be in the business of treating the absence of bad behavior as something that needs to be rewarded," Davies said. "It is, of course, on the face of it, a good thing that North Korea did not fire missiles. But that in and of itself does not get us very far toward the goal that we all seek, which is that North Korea gets back on the path of denuclearization by taking concrete steps to demonstrate that they understand they have obligations in that regard, much less that they must fulfill their obligations to the international community because of the series of U.N. Security Council Resolutions that pertain to North Korea's actions."

Following the press briefing, Davies and the U.S. delegation planned to go to Beijing to speak with the Chinese government and to Tokyo to talk with the Japanese government by the end of the week.