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

Analyst: Joint-Arab Military Force Poses Perilous Challenge

Although international forces are desperately needed to counter the threat of the Islamic State group, analysts say conflicting alliances could escalate fighting More

Asia’s Middle Class Changes Demand for Wheat Grain Exporters

Changes in tastes and diets are boon for wheat exporters such as Australia and the United States More

S. African Comedian Taking Over Popular TV Show

Mixed-race comedian Trevor Noah, who is loved for his edgy jibes about race and language, is taking the helm from Jon Stewart at The Daily Show in US 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.
Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadistsi
X
Greg Flakus
March 30, 2015 6:48 PM
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 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 With Coalition Airstrikes, Iraq Entering 'Last Page' of IS Battle

American warplanes joined Iraq's battle against the so-called 'Islamic State' in northern Iraq late Wednesday, as Iraqi ground troops launched a massive assault on Tikrit. Analysts say the offensive could take the coalition a step further towards Mosul, the largest city held by Islamic State forces. Others say it could also deepen already-dangerous sectarian tensions in the region. VOA's Heather Murdock has more from Cairo.
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 Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Hi-tech Motorbike Helmet's Goal: Improve Road Safety

In cities with heavily congested traffic, people can get around much faster on a motorcycle than in a car. But a rider who is not sure of his route may have to stop to look at the map or consult a GPS. A Russian start-up company is working to make navigation easier for motorcyclists. Designers at Moscow-based LiveMap are developing a smart helmet with a built-in navigation system, head-mounted display and voice recognition. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video DOJ: Illinois National Guard Soldier Tried to Join ISIS

U.S. federal law enforcement agents arrested two suburban Chicago men accused of trying to join ISIS overseas, while also plotting attacks in the United States. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports from the Midwest state of Illinois, one of those arrested is a soldier of the Illinois National Guard.
Video

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Traditional push-rim wheelchairs create a lot of stress for arm, shoulder and neck muscles and joints. A redesigned chair, based on readily available bicycle technology, radically increases mobility while reducing the physical effort. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
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.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.

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