News

    Korean Summit Begins With Historic Walk, Unexpected Greeting

    Kurt Achin

    South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun strolled across the heavily militarized border with North Korea and later received an unscheduled greeting from the North's leader Kim Jong Il. As VOA's Kurt Achin reports from Seoul, the ceremonies mark the start of a three-day summit in the North Korean capital.

    South Korea has already erected a small stone monument near the spot where President Roh Moo-hyun on Tuesday began his trip into North Korea.

    After a short drive, Mr. Roh and his wife stepped out of their car and walked over the border separating the two Koreas.

    The South Korean president prefaced his walk by reflecting on the pain the division has caused Koreans - and by looking forward to a future of unity.

    He says more people will one day cross the border, just as he is doing, and the wall between North and South will fall.

    The two Koreas remain technically at war, 57 years after North Korea invaded the South. A 1953 armistice halted three years of fighting.

    This is only the second meeting of the leaders of the two countries. In 2000, former South Korean President Kim Dae-jung went to Pyongyang to meet Kim Jong Il. That meeting led to increased contact between the two countries, fueled in part by hundreds of millions of dollars of South Korean aid and investment sent to the impoverished North. 

    Less than an hour before Mr. Roh's motorcade was scheduled to arrive in Pyongyang Tuesday, South Korean reporters learned of a change in the summit's agenda.

    North Koreans erupted into coordinated cheers as their leader, Kim Jong Il, emerged to greet President Roh personally at a Pyongyang landmark.

    Mr. Roh's staff had said earlier that no meeting with Mr. Kim had been formally scheduled for Tuesday.

    A North Korean military officer - heard here calling out a lengthy list of Kim Jong Il's official titles - said the North Korean leader welcomed President Roh's visit. The two leaders then walked a red carpet past military officers and civilians waving bouquets.

    President Roh says seeking a permanent peace mechanism to replace the armistice is his primary reason for this week's summit. He has said he does not expect to spend much time discussing international efforts to persuade North Korea to halt its nuclear weapons programs.

    No international media organizations were allowed to join the small media team that went to Pyongyang for the summit. Hundreds of South Korean and foreign correspondents are covering the event using video sent by domestic South Korean broadcasters to a government media room in a Seoul hotel.

    The summit is not without controversy. Many South Koreans see it as an attempt by President Roh to win support for his favored candidate in presidential elections later this year. Some critics fear that Mr. Roh, in his eagerness to improve relations with Pyongyang, may offer too many benefits and receive too little in return from the North in terms of ending its nuclear weapons programs or improving its human rights record.

    Mr. Roh is expected to return from Pyongyang Thursday.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.