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

Jihadist Assassin says Goal of Tunisia Murders Was Chaos

Abu Muqatil at-Tunusi’s remarks in a propaganda interview also cast light on attack on Bardo Museum More

Russia Denies License to Tatar-Language TV Station in Crimea

OSCE official says denial shows 'politically selective censorship of free and independent voices in Crimea is continuing' More

Kenyan Startups Tackle Expensive Remittances Through Bitcoin

Some think services could give Western Union a run for its money, though others say it’s still got a long way to go 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.
For Obama, It's More Business Than Friendships With World Leadersi
X
Aru Pande
April 01, 2015 9:09 PM
The rift between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has put a spotlight on the importance of the American leader’s personal relationships with other world leaders and what role such friendships play in foreign policy. VOA's Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video For Obama, It's More Business Than Friendships With World Leaders

The rift between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has put a spotlight on the importance of the American leader’s personal relationships with other world leaders and what role such friendships play in foreign policy. VOA's Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video Buhari: Nigeria Has ‘Embraced Democracy’

Nigeria woke up to a new president-elect Wednesday, Muhammadu Buhari. But people say democracy is the real winner as the country embarks on its first peaceful handover of power since the end of military rule in 1999. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Abuja.
Video

Video Tiny Camera Sees Inside Blood Vessels

Ahead of any surgical procedure, doctors try to learn as much as possible about the state of the organs they plan to operate on. A new camera developed in the Netherlands can now make that easier - giving surgeons an incredibly detailed look inside blood vessels, all the way to the patient’s heart. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Latin American Groups Seek Fans at Texas Music Festival

Latin American music groups played all over Austin, Texas, during the recent South by Southwest festival, and some made fans out of locals as well as people from around the world who had come to hear music. Such exposure can boost such groups' image back home. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Stockton Community, Police, Work to Improve Relations

Relations are tense between minority communities and police departments around the United States following police shootings that have generated widely-publicized protests. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Stockton, California, where police and community groups are working toward solutions, with backing from Washington.
Video

Video Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedom

Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Report: State of Black America a 'Tale of Two Nations'

The National Urban League has described this year's "State of Black America" report as a "tale of two nations." The group's annual report, released earlier this month (March), found that under an equality index African Americans had only 72% parity compared to whites in areas such as education, economics, health, social justice and civic engagement. It’s a gap that educators and students at Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College are looking to close. VOA's Daniela Schrier reports from the school.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials Underway in West Africa

Ebola has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people in West Africa. Since last summer, researchers have rushed to get anti-Ebola vaccines into clinical trials. While it's too early to say that any of the potential vaccines work, some scientists say they are seeing strong results from some of the studies. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More