News / Asia

    North-South Korean High-Level Talks Canceled

    In this photo released by the South Korean Unification Ministry, South Korea's Unification Policy Officer Chun Hae-sung, left, shakes hands with the head of North Korea's delegation Kim Song Hye, right, June 10, 2013.
    In this photo released by the South Korean Unification Ministry, South Korea's Unification Policy Officer Chun Hae-sung, left, shakes hands with the head of North Korea's delegation Kim Song Hye, right, June 10, 2013.
    South Korea says the first high-level talks with the North in years will not occur as scheduled. A group of North Korean government officials had been expected to make a rare trip across the demilitarized zone to the South Korean capital on Wednesday.

    The first talks in years between high-level officials of the two Koreas will not begin Wednesday.

    Unification Ministry spokesman Kim Hyung-suk blamed Pyongyang for the talks not proceeding as scheduled.

    Kim said the North disputed a vice minister heading the South's delegation and notified Seoul that the dispatch of its delegation to the South on Wednesday would be postponed.

    The South had requested during working-level talks that ended early Monday at Panmunjom that the North send as its delegation leader, Kim Yang Gon, director of the United Front Department of the ruling Worker's Party. Not getting a positive response, Seoul then said its delegation would be headed by a vice minister instead of Unification minister Ryoo Kihl-jae.

    Among the items on the agenda were how to re-start two shuttered inter-Korean ventures in the North: the Kaesong Industrial Zone and the Mt. Keumgang tourism resort.

    Northeast Asia Deputy Project Director Dan Pinkston at the International Crisis Group said agreement to re-open the two joint projects could benefit Pyongyang in ways beyond just the hard currency it would again earn.

    "Then I think they can manipulate that in ways to try to exploit relations with other countries, normalize relations, as they maintain their WMD programs and maintain their nuclear status. So I think this is what they will probably try to do. They have not changed their national security strategy, their nuclear ambitions. We see no change there. I think that's a great concern for many people in the world," he said.

    A senior researcher at the state-funded Korea Institute for National Unification, Choi Jin-wook, views it as acceptable for the South to engage in dialogue with the North - even if the issue of North Korea's nuclear weapons development is not on the agenda.

    "We can't move on to the next stage if North Korea does not abandon nuclear weapons. But we can still talk and we can try to do something even before that time. So I think this is only the beginning of opening the channels of direct communication with North Korea," said Choi.

    Yonsei University Professor Lee Jung-hoon said if the talks proceed in the near future, they would be the start of a long trust-building process.

    "I would remain very cautious and vigilant, and I am sure the Park Geun-hye government is doing precisely that. I don't think it is going to jump - it's not desperate. I think the desperate side is North Korea," said Lee.

    The two Koreas have never established diplomatic relations. They fought each other to a stalemate after a three-year civil war in the early 1950's. The conflict, which devastated the Korean peninsula, ended with an armistice. No peace treaty has been signed.

    Additional reporting by Youmi Kim in the VOA Seoul bureau.

    Steve Herman

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

    You May Like

    Multimedia Obama Calls on Americans to Help the Families of Its War Dead

    In last Memorial Day of his presidency, Obama lays wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery

    The Strife of the Party: Will Trump Permanently Alter Republicans?

    While billionaire mogul's no-holds-barred style, high-energy delivery are what rocketed him to nomination, they also have created rift between party elites and his supporters

    China's Education Reforms Spark Protest

    Beijing is putting a quota system in place to increase the number of students from poor regions attending universities

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Kim
    June 12, 2013 5:03 AM
    Why can't S-Korea be aware that she is deceived by N-Korea?

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Tech Startups Showcase Wares at Amsterdam Conferencei
    X
    Serginho Roosblad
    May 30, 2016 5:11 PM
    More than 20,000 tech enthusiasts, entrepreneurs and lovers of digital technology came together in Amsterdam recently at the Next Web Conference to discuss the latest developments in digital technology, look to the future and, of course, to connect. In recent years, there has been an explosion of so-called startup businesses that have created devices and applications that have changed the way we live; but, as Serginho Roosblad reports for VOA, there are pitfalls for such startups as well.
    Video

    Video Tech Startups Showcase Wares at Amsterdam Conference

    More than 20,000 tech enthusiasts, entrepreneurs and lovers of digital technology came together in Amsterdam recently at the Next Web Conference to discuss the latest developments in digital technology, look to the future and, of course, to connect. In recent years, there has been an explosion of so-called startup businesses that have created devices and applications that have changed the way we live; but, as Serginho Roosblad reports for VOA, there are pitfalls for such startups as well.
    Video

    Video US Military's Fallen Honored With Flags

    Memorial Day is a long weekend for most Americans. For some, it is the unofficial start of summer -- local swimming pools open and outdoor grilling season begins. But Memorial Day remains true to its origins -- a day to remember the U.S. military's fallen.
    Video

    Video Rolling Thunder Rolls Into Washington

    The Rolling Thunder caravan of motorcycles rolled into Washington Sunday, to support the U.S. military on the country's Memorial Day weekend
    Video

    Video A New Reading Program Pairs Kids with Dogs

    Dogs, it is said, are man's best friend. What some researchers have discovered is that they can also be a friend to a struggling reader. A group called Intermountain Therapy Animals trains dogs to help all kinds of kids with reading problems — from those with special needs to those for whom English is a second language. Faiza Elmasry has more on the New York chapter of R.E.A.D., or Reading Education Assistance Dogs, in this piece narrated by Faith Lapidus.
    Video

    Video Fan Base Grows for Fictional Wyoming Sheriff Longmire

    Around the world, the most enduring symbol of the U.S. is that of the cowboy. A very small percentage of Americans live in Western rural areas, and fewer still are cowboys. But the fascination with the American West is kept alive by such cultural offerings as “Longmire,” a series of books and TV episodes about a fictional Wyoming sheriff. VOA’s Greg Flakus recently spoke with Longmire’s creator, Craig Johnson, and filed this report from Houston.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora