The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Politics

April 5, 2013

Obama avoids war of words with North Korea



By Terry Atlas and David Lerman

Bloomberg News

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama is leaving it to other U.S. officials to respond publicly to North Korea's hostile rhetoric, as his administration balances a display of military resolve against the risk that its actions will escalate tensions with dictator Kim Jong Un.

Even as North Korea threatens to wage nuclear war on the United States and South Korea, the White House so far has kept American reaction below the presidential level, with Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Secretary of State John Kerry taking the lead. Obama hasn't commented in public on the crisis this week, and he declined to answer a question on North Korea shouted by a reporter after an April 2 Oval Office meeting.

At the same time, the administration has sought to reassure South Korea that the United States would come to its defense. The U.S. sent B-52 and B-2 bombers to participate in annual U.S.-South Korea military exercises — with the Pentagon announcing the moves even while calling them routine — and deployed two Navy destroyers to the region in gestures to deter a North Korean military provocation.

The U.S. is striking the right balance in responding with rhetorical restraint while showing resolve, said Mark Minton, who was deputy chief of mission at the American embassy in Seoul from 2003 to 2006.

"We've done pretty well in walking that middle ground," Minton, president of the Korea Society, a nonprofit New York- based group, said in an interview. "We have not engaged in overheated rhetoric ourselves. We have taken some quiet, discreet moves that are easily reversible."

Kim's regime warned this week that "the moment of explosion is approaching soon" and said it's poised to conduct a "smaller, lighter and diversified nuclear strike." North Korea also has moved a missile to its eastern coast rocket launch site, possibly for test-firing, according to South Korea's defense minister.

Text Only
Politics
  • With 1 week to go, Sanford subject of attacks

    CHARLESTON, S.C. — Former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford can’t seem to escape attacks on the extramarital affair that derailed his political career, which he hopes to revive in a special congressional election that is now a week away.

    May 1, 2013

  • Bombing shifts Mass. Senate race before primaries

    BOSTON — Even before the explosions, polling suggested that Massachusetts voters weren’t excited about the looming special election to replace former U.S. Sen. John Kerry.

    April 28, 2013

  • In a first, black voter turnout rate passes whites

    WASHINGTON — America’s blacks voted at a higher rate than other minority groups in 2012 and by most measures surpassed the white turnout for the first time, reflecting a deeply polarized presidential election in which blacks strongly supported Barack Obama while many whites stayed home.

    April 28, 2013

  • Senate Democrats put off vote on Labor nominee

    WASHINGTON — Senate Democrats have delayed a confirmation vote on Labor Secretary-nominee Thomas Perez after Republicans threatened to use a separate hearing to criticize his handling of a whistleblower case.

    April 24, 2013

  • Sen. Baucus' decision to retire sets stage for majorlegislative changes

     Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., one of the most influential congressional figures of his era, announced his intention Tuesday to retire, a move that could produce sweeping changes in the political and legislative landscape over the next two years.

    April 24, 2013

  • Senate friendship born of tragedy beat partisanship

    These days, most dispatches from Washington focus on petty partisanship, posturing, impasses and a political culture that rewards confrontation.

    April 22, 2013

  • Rubio rising

    If Marco Rubio helps pass comprehensive immigration reform, he will have accomplished more as a senator than Barack Obama did.

    April 22, 2013

  • Gun Bill's Failure May Help Immigration Legislation

    WASHINGTON — Here's an odd political reality: The collapse of the gun bill in the Senate last week may well make the passage of immigration reform legislation slightly easier.

    April 21, 2013

  • Senate Planning Vote on Internet Sales Tax

    WASHINGTON — The days of tax-free online shopping could finally be numbered.

    April 21, 2013

  • Advocates of Immigration Reform Fight Back Against Push for Delay

    WASHINGTON — The Senate's leading supporters of overhauling the nation's immigration system sought Sunday to blunt a conservative effort to slow the pace of debate over their bill, saying the Boston Marathon bombings are a reason to move quickly to make changes.

    April 21, 2013

Featured Ads
Politics Video