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, Steven L Herman is the Voice of America Asia correspondent.

You May Like

Ebola Death Toll Nears 5,000 as Virus Advances

West Africa bears heaviest burden; Mali toddler’s death raises new fears More

Jordan’s Role in Fighting IS Carries Domestic Risks

There are Western concerns Islamic State militants soon may unleash offensive in kingdom that could create upheaval - though nation has solid intel, grip on banking system More

Asian-Americans Enter Public Office in Record Numbers

A steady deepening engagement in local politics pays off for politicians like Chinese-American Judy Chu More

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.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid