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

Obama: Alaskans Feel Signs of Climate Change

They're seeing bigger storm surges as sea ice melts, more wildfires, erosion of glaciers, shorelines More

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age More

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.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs