News / USA

    South Korea Gives Cool Response to China's Call for Emergency Talks

    Smoke rises on the Yeonpyeong Island, South Korea, 26 Nov  2010
    Smoke rises on the Yeonpyeong Island, South Korea, 26 Nov 2010

    Diplomatic efforts are underway in Asia to defuse tension on the Korean peninsula. But South Korea is effectively rejecting China's call to quickly convene multi-national talks to discuss North Korea. This comes as the United States and South Korea begin four days of naval drills seen as a show of strength to dissuade Pyongyang after last Tuesday's attack on Yeonpyeong island.  

    South Korea is effectively rejecting immediate resumption of multi-party dialog involving North Korea. The Foreign Ministry is saying, diplomatically, only that China's proposal deserves to be "very closely examined."

    President Lee Myung-bak who met Sunday with visiting Chinese officials is quoted as telling them the timing is not right and it is more urgent to deal with North Korea's belligerence.

    China says it wants to host emergency talks in December that would also include both Koreas, the United States, Japan and Russia.

    South Korean presidential press secretary Hong Sang Pyong says President Lee told China's State Councilor, Dai Bingguo, Seoul expects Beijing to use its influence with Pyongyang to defuse the tension on the Korean peninsula.

    The spokesman also says President Lee also conveyed that Seoul will forcefully respond to any further military provocations from the North.

    The discussions occurred five days after North Korea hit a South Korean island with a barrage of artillery, killing four people.

    The USS George Washington aircraft carrier, a pair of South Korean naval destroyers and other vessels are now in the Yellow Sea for four-days of war games.

    U.S. officials say the maritime maneuvers were planned before last Tuesday's North Korean artillery attack. But they are not denying the drill is a show of force meant to deter Pyongyang from further provocations.

    The director of South Korea's Research Institute of National Security Affairs, Choi Jong Chul, says it is unlikely North Korea will do anything provocative while the joint maneuvers are underway.

    Choi (who is also a professor of military strategy at the Korea National Defense University) says, however, once the U.S. aircraft carrier departs, it cannot be predicted what North Korea will do, thus Seoul needs to be prepared for any eventuality.

    South Korean media reports say North Korean forces have put surface-to-surface missiles on launch pads in the Yellow Sea and moved surface-to-air missiles to front-line areas.

    Pyongyang is warning of retaliation amid the US-South Korean maneuvers. An official news agency dispatch Sunday spoke of North Korean forces delivering a "brutal military blow" if its territory is violated.

    North Korea acknowledges hitting Yeonpyeong island while a South Korean annual military drill was underway there Tuesday. The exercise included the firing of artillery westward into the sea near the maritime boundary, which North Korea does not accept.

    Pyongyang says if there were civilian deaths that is regrettable, but adds South Korea is using civilians as human shields on Yeonpyeong.

    Those remaining on the island were ordered into bunkers for 40 minutes Sunday after fresh artillery firing was heard from North Korea, which is just 12 kilometers away. There is no indication any shells hit South Korean territory Sunday.

    All journalists were ordered by the Defense Ministry to leave Yeonpyeong island by the end of the day. The ministry sent an emergency text message saying that remaining there would be dangerous because North Korea might take further provocative action.

    President Lee Myung-bak on Monday morning is to make a national address. He has not spoken in public or to reporters since last Tuesday's attack.


    Steve Herman

    A veteran journalist, Steve Herman is VOA's Southeast Asia Bureau Chief and Correspondent, based in Bangkok.

    You May Like

    Wife of IS Leader Charged in Death of US Hostage

    Suspect allegedly admitted to being responsible for American aid worker Kayla Mueller, who officials say was sexually abused and ‘owned’ by one IS member

    Year of the Monkey Could Prove Economic Balancing Act for China

    China is up against a tricky situation on the financial front, facing the need to fight capital flight while also stopping a further slide of foreign currency reserves

    Runners Attempt 26-mile South Pole Marathon in Sub-Zero Temperatures

    How alluring is running 26.2 miles at 10,000 feet when it’s minus 31 Celsius out?

    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.