Albright calls for diplomatic approach to North Korea crisis
Posted 11:54 a.m. Friday
Former secretary of state and US ambassador to the UN Madeleine Albright suggested that the Trump administration needs to be more cohesive in its strategy toward North Korea and called for a return to the six-party talks in the wake of that nation's latest missile launch.
"I think we ... have to get a more common message out of this administration, it's a little bit confusing, and an all-of-government approach to it, and move toward, I think, the six-party talks," Albright said on CNN's "New Day" Friday.
The six-party talks aimed to denuclearize North Korea through multilateral diplomatic negotiations between the US, North Korea, China, Japan, South Korea and Russia. The talks ended in failure more than a decade ago, and multiple US administrations have refused to return to the negotiating table with Pyongyang unless the regime agrees to give up its nuclear program.
Albright, who met with then-leader Kim Jong Il in Pyongyang on official US business in 2000, noted that a return to these kinds of negotiations could at the very least deter the development of additional North Korean arms.
"There has to be a common approach, and I think we need to figure out how to use that diplomatic tool more effectively," Albright said. "But I would never take everything off the table. I think it's important to have deterrents and keep pushing on this."
President Donald Trump and Cabinet members such as Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Defense Secretary James Mattis have often publicly appeared at odds in the face of growing North Korean provocations. The President, for example, responded to early August launches with threats of "fire and fury," while Mattis and Tillerson maintained that the US preferred diplomacy.
Albright reiterated Tillerson's call for Russia and China to apply more pressure on North Korea.
"I think we need to make clearer to the Chinese and Russians that it is in their national interest to do something," she said, adding that the two countries need to "live up to" the recently passed UN sanctions against North Korea.
Looking ahead to Trump's first UN General Assembly appearance, the former secretary of state took aim at the President's renewed call for a travel ban in the wake of a terror incident in London Friday.
"The travel ban is actually giving a lot of solace to those who would like to say we're a terrible country," Albright said. "The strength of this country is that we respect diversity, that we understand what we stand for. And I think that the travel ban is undercutting America's reputation and our leadership status and is something, when you ask how President Trump is going to be received at the UN, that is one of the issues."