News / Asia

    China, South Korea Hold Talks on North

    South Korean Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan, right, shakes hands with Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Zhijun before the high-level bilateral talks in Seoul, South Korea, December 27, 2011.
    South Korean Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan, right, shakes hands with Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Zhijun before the high-level bilateral talks in Seoul, South Korea, December 27, 2011.

    China and South Korea held strategy talks in what they promise will be increased communication aimed at ensuring the peninsula's stability. And two South Korean delegations have returned home after delivering personal condolences in Pyongyang to new North Korean leader Kim Jong Un for the death of his father Kim Jong Il.   

    China's vice foreign minister, Zhang Zhijun, was in the South Korean capital Tuesday for the first round of formal strategy talks between the two nations since the death of Kim Jong Il, leader of their mutual neighbor, North Korea.

    South Korean First Vice Foreign Minister Park Suk-hwan called the talks meaningful and timely.

    He says amid mounting concerns in the international community about the Korean peninsula's affairs, there had been a phone call between the foreign ministers of China and South Korea, and conversations have been taking place among the six-party talks countries.

    Those six-party talks, which also include North Korea, Russia, the United States, and Japan, have been convening on and off for eight years in an attempt to persuade Pyongyang to end its nuclear weapons program.

    Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Zhang says China and South Korea have been exchanging honest views about regional affairs for years, and he says he thinks that is very useful.

    Moon Chung-in, a political science professor at Seoul's Yonsei University and frequent advisor to past governments, says the death of Kim Jong Il presents a unique "clear slate" opportunity in which the six-party nuclear talks may be able to restart. He says the North's new leader, Kim Jong Un, will need the talks if he is to win popular support by alleviating the country's severe poverty and malnutrition.

    "Revitalization of the North Korean economy is virtually inconceivable with getting external support-- food aid, economic aid, and foreign direct investment," said Moon. "Without making substantial concessions on the nuclear weapons issue, he may not be able to get that kind of support from the outside. Even China will be reluctant."

    China is the last of North Korea's historical allies. But some question Beijing's continuing willingness to back up Pyongyang, particularly in light of provocative actions such as the 2010 sinking of a South Korean naval vessel and the deadly shelling of a South Korean island the following year.

    Lho Kyungsoo is a Seoul National University professor, and chairs the Asia Society Korea Center in Seoul.  He says North Korea was useful to China during the Cold War and several decades thereafter, as a diplomatic bargaining chip with the United States.  Now, however, he believes Beijing is undergoing a slow but sure change of heart.

    "I think the majority of intelligent Chinese leaders increasingly see North Korea as a liability... They're growing unpredictable," he said. "And does China want to take responsibility on an international stage, for North Korea's actions?  I think the cost to Beijing is growing."

    Also Tuesday, two South Korean civilian delegations returned from North Korea after offering formal condolences at the hall where Kim Jong Il is lying in state.  Lee Hee-ho, the widow of former South Korean President Kim Dae-jung, and Hyun Jeong-eun, wife of the former Hyundai group chairman who invested heavily in the North, were shown on North Korean television bowing and shaking hands with the country's new leader, Kim Jong Un.

    Yoon Cheol-gu, spokesman for Lee Hee-ho, says there was not time for much dialogue.

    He says having waited for some forty to fifty minutes, the ex-first lady was able to meet with Kim Jong Un for ten minutes. She expressed her condolences, and the North Korean successor thanked her for having made the long journey. There was unfortunately no time after that, he says, for any further discussion.

    Kim Jong Il is scheduled to receive a full state funeral ceremony in Pyongyang Wednesday.

    You May Like

    Russian-Backed Offensive in Syria Pushes War to Tipping Point

    As threat to Aleppo and rebel forces grows, US plan to negotiate becomes less and less appealing for Syrian government, says one military analyst

    IS Runs Timber Smuggling Business in Afghanistan, Officials Say

    Government turning blind eye to smuggling, according to tribal leaders; Afghanistan's forest cover dropped by 50 percent in three decades, experts say

    Video White House Seeks $1.8 Billion to Combat Zika

    Obama administration says funding would 'support essential strategies to combat the virus' such as rapidly expanding mosquito control programs, accelerating vaccine research

    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.
    'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenyai
    X
    February 08, 2016 4:30 PM
    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video New Hampshire Voters Are Independent, Mindful of History

    Once every four years, the northeastern state of New Hampshire becomes the center of the U.S. political universe with its first-in-the-nation presidential primary. What's unusual about New Hampshire is how seriously the voters take their role and the responsibility of being among the first to weigh in on the candidates.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Bhutanese Refugees in New Hampshire Closely Watching Primary Election

    They fled their country and lived in refugee camps in neighboring Nepal for decades before being resettled in the northeastern U.S. state of New Hampshire -- now the focus of the U.S. presidential contest. VOA correspondent Aru Pande spoke with members of the Bhutanese community, including new American citizens, about the campaign and the strong anti-immigrant rhetoric of some of the candidates.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video Sanders, Clinton Battle for Young Democratic Vote

    Despite a narrow loss to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in last week's Iowa Democratic caucuses, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders secured more than 80 percent of the vote among those between the ages of 18 and 29. VOA correspondent Aru Pande talks to Democrats in New Hampshire about who they are leaning towards and why in this week's primary.
    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 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 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.