(Mainichi: February 18, 2016 – p. 8)
Former U.S. Under Secretary of State Wendy Sherman gave an interview to the Mainichi Shimbun in Tokyo on Feb. 17, during which she commented on North Korean leader Kim Jong Un by saying: “He is more merciless than Kim Jong Il. Although Jong Il tried to hold negotiations with us, there is no sign of (Kim Jong Un) doing so.”
Based on her experience of leading the nuclear talks with Iran last summer, Sherman expressed the following view: “As Iran is in contact with the international community, it functions as a state. But North Korea is more like a cult group than a state. It is much more difficult to hold negotiations with North Korea.”
Regarding the talks with Iran, she stated: “Everybody thought it would be impossible to reach (an agreement).” She stressed that the U.S. together with Japan and South Korea should deal tenaciously with North Korea, while improving the missile defense (MD) system and strengthening sanctions against Pyongyang. Although China has taken a negative stance toward new sanctions by the UNSC, she called for China to adopt a positive stance toward stronger sanctions against North Korea, saying, “China holds the key. China has many means such as (reducing) the supply of resources to the North.”
At a press conference held on the same day at the Japan National Press Club in Tokyo, Sherman clearly stated regarding North Korea’s missile launch: “It doesn’t matter if it was successful or not. Tests are impermissible because they will lead to improved capabilities.” As for the Obama administration’s policy toward North Korea, she emphasized: “Regardless of North Korea’s moves, the United States will continue to maintain options to protect itself and its allies.”
Sherman is well versed in North Korea policy as she accompanied (then) Secretary of State Albright on her visit to North Korea as an advisor to the State Department.