The U.S. government has moved to downplay the importance of North Korea’s ousting of V. Mar Lee Young Ho, once again calling upon the Kim Jong Eun regime to improve its behavior instead.
When asked about the recent dismissal of Lee (aka Ri Yong Ho), State Department spokesperson Patrick Ventrell responded during yesterday’s State Department daily briefing, “changes in personnel, absent a fundamental change in direction, mean little.”
“We continue to call on the DPRK to make the right choice,” he added, listing the necessary steps North Korea should take to follow “the path available to it and rejoin the international community.”
North Korea could accomplish this “by refraining from threats and provocations, by complying with its international obligations and commitments, including taking concrete actions towards verifiable denuclearization, and addressing the needs of its people by educating and feeding them rather than pouring scarce resources into nuclear, missile, and other military programs,” he pointed out.
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney delivered a similar message, saying the US should judge North Korea by its actions rather than “spending a lot of time trying to read into personnel moves in what is one of the world's most opaque governments and societies.”
He also reaffirmed that the United States intends to hold “North Korea accountable to its international obligations.”
There has been some speculation that the Lee’s very public removal was intended to send a signal to the international community that the kind of hardliners who led the April long-range rocket launch that destroyed the U.S.-North Korea ‘Leap Day Agreement’ were being cleared out to make way for reformers. However, no clear evidence supporting this position has been offered to date.