News / Asia

Koreas Exchange Blame on Factory Talks Breakdown

Kim Kiwoong, right, the head of South Korea's working-level delegation, shakes hands with his North Korean counterpart Park Chol Su after their meeting at Kaesong Industrial District Management Committee in Kaesong, North Korea, July 25, 2013.
Kim Kiwoong, right, the head of South Korea's working-level delegation, shakes hands with his North Korean counterpart Park Chol Su after their meeting at Kaesong Industrial District Management Committee in Kaesong, North Korea, July 25, 2013.
Daniel Schearf
North Korea is not responding to South Korea's proposal for a final round of talks to try to re-open their joint industrial zone in Kaesong. Negotiations between the two Koreas broke down last week with both sides blaming the other.
 
North Korea gave no immediate response to South Korea's offer Monday for one more round of negotiations on their jointly run industrial complex in Kaesong.
 
South Korea's Unification Ministry said the official message was sent to North Korea through the border village of Panmunjom with no proposed date, time or venue.
 
North Korea acknowledged receiving the message but gave no reply.
 
South Korea's Unification Ministry Sunday repeated threats of “grave consequences” for the factory complex if North Korea did not change its attitude.
 
Unification Ministry spokesman Kim Hyung-suk urged Pyongyang to make the right choice for the project and for inter-Korean relations.
 
He said Seoul has emphasized that North Korea must guarantee that it will not take unilateral measures such as restricting access or withdrawing employees in order to resolve the difficulties of companies in the Kaesong Industrial Complex and for constructive normalization. He said they have urged North Korea to express its clear stance on preventing the recurrence of this situation.
 
Kaesong was the only resilient symbol of inter-Korean cooperation though years of political and military tensions.
 
But in April Pyongyang withdrew its 53,000 workers, citing insults to its dignity and tensions over South Korea-United States military exercises.
 
Analysts said a response to tougher United Nations sanctions for its third nuclear test, in February, was a more likely reason.
 
The two Koreas have held six rounds of talks this month on how to re-open the jointly run industrial complex.
 
The last one, on Thursday, ended bitterly when the North accused the South of being “arrogant” and causing negotiations to break down.
 
North Korean negotiators threatened to re-station soldiers at the industrial park that were pulled out after it opened in 2004.
 
A brief scuffle broke out when South Korean officials tried to stop the North Koreans from distributing internal documents from the talks to journalists.
 
Despite the tough language from Seoul, South Korea on Sunday confirmed it would allow millions of dollars in food and medical aid be sent to the North.

The Unification Ministry announced it would give over six million dollars in humanitarian aid for the North's malnourished children and pregnant women. Spokesman Kim said a private organization would also be allowed to donate over a million dollars in food and medical aid for kids.
 
As for the humanitarian aid to North Korea, he said, it was announced through the statement of the Unification Minister. He said they will support the process by having discussions with the private group as soon as the discussion about North Korea and procedures for humanitarian aid are completed.
 
Also Monday, Korea's Yonhap news agency reported former U.S. president Jimmy Carter will soon travel to North Korea to help secure the release of Kenneth Bae.
 
Bae, a Korean-American tour operator, was arrested in November and charged with trying to overthrow the communist government. Pyongyang says Bae is a Christian missionary and was preaching in the North, where communist doctrine is hostile to religion and churches are strictly controlled.
 
Despite having poor health, Bae was sentenced in April to 15 years of hard labor.
 
Observers believe Bae is being used by Pyongyang as a bargaining chip to try to re-start direct talks with the United States over its nuclear programs.
 
Former president Carters and Clinton have made previous visits to North Korea to bring home other detained Americans, acting as private citizens.
 
Washington said it will not return to talks with Pyongyang until it demonstrates sincerity to give up its nuclear plans.

VOA Seoul Bureau Producer Youmi Kim contributed to this report

You May Like

Video VOA Exclusive: Poroshenko Wants Russia's UN Veto Stripped

Ukrainian president tells VOA's Myroslava Gongadze that global community would be safer if Russia's ability to play spoiler were ended More

Crime and Espionage Becoming Tangled Online

As the lines between cyber-crime and espionage blur, fighting hackers becomes harder More

Crowdfunding Helps Save Neil Armstrong's Spacesuit

Smithsonian turns to Kickstarter to raise more than $700,000 to help preserve the spacesuit worn by the first man to walk on the moon More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Drowned Migrant Toddler Photo Triggers European Outragei
X
Henry Ridgwell
September 04, 2015 11:36 AM
The harrowing picture of a drowned three-year-old Syrian boy washed up on a Turkish beach appears to have galvanized Europe’s leaders into doing more to address the refugee crisis. France, Germany and Italy issued a joint call Thursday for compulsory quotas of refugees for all EU states. But there were chaotic scenes in Hungary as police tried to force migrants off a train heading for Austria. Henry Ridgwell has more. And a caution, some of the images in this report may be disturbing.
Video

Video Drowned Migrant Toddler Photo Triggers European Outrage

The harrowing picture of a drowned three-year-old Syrian boy washed up on a Turkish beach appears to have galvanized Europe’s leaders into doing more to address the refugee crisis. France, Germany and Italy issued a joint call Thursday for compulsory quotas of refugees for all EU states. But there were chaotic scenes in Hungary as police tried to force migrants off a train heading for Austria. Henry Ridgwell has more. And a caution, some of the images in this report may be disturbing.
Video

Video Russians Observe 11th Anniversary of Beslan School Attack

This week, Russians have been observing the 11th anniversary of the attack by Islamic militants on a school in Russia's North Caucasus region that killed more than 330 hostages, including 186 children. The three-day siege and massacre that started on September 1, 2004 took place in Beslan, a town in the republic of North Ossetia, and is one of the bloodiest terrorist acts ever in Russia. VOA's Mike Richman reports.
Video

Video Native Americans Debate: Father Serra, Saint or Sinner?

Pope Francis will canonize an 18th century missionary to Spanish California during a papal visit to the United States this month.  But some Native Americans have criticized the elevation to sainthood of the missionary priest, Junipero Serra. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Calais School Offers Another Face of Europe’s Migrant Crisis

Europe is facing mounting criticism over how it’s handling its biggest migration crisis since World War II. But not all Europeans believe building walls or passing repressive policies are the answer. A school for migrants in the French port city of Calais, is opening doors and building bonds across nationalities. VOA's Lisa Bryant reports.
Video

Video Kurdish Fighters on IS Frontline Ready for Offensive

Finger on the trigger, the Kurdish Peshmerga soldier stared across the dust at a village taken over by Islamic State extremists. The Kurdistan’s Khazir frontline, just 45 minutes from the Islamic State stronghold of Mosul. And at this point, the militants were less than two kilometers away. VOA's Sharon Behn reports.
Video

Video China Announces Troop Cuts at WWII Parade

Chinese President Xi Jinping Thursday announced plans to cut the world’s largest military force by 300,000 troops. The announcement was made during a massive military parade to commemorate victory over Japan in World War II. The event was shunned by most Western leaders and for some is raising fresh concerns about China’s military ambitions. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Russia-Japan Relations Cool as Putin Visits China for WWII Anniversary

Russian President Vladimir Putin is in Beijing for commemorations of the 70th anniversary of China's WWII victory over Japan. Putin is expected to visit Japan later this year, but tensions between Tokyo and Moscow over islands disputed since the war, and sanctions over Ukraine, could pour cold water on the plan. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Yemen ‘on Brink of Disaster’ as Medical Shortages Soar

Aid agencies warn Yemen is on the brink of humanitarian disaster – with up to half a million children facing severe malnutrition, and hospitals running out of basic medicines. There are fears Yemen's civil war could escalate as the coalition led by Saudi Arabia tries to drive back Houthi rebels, who seized control of much of the country earlier this year. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Apps Helping Kenyan Businesses Stay Ahead of Counterfeiters

Counterfeit goods in Kenya cost the government as much as $1 billion each year in lost tax revenues. The fake goods also hurt entrepreneurs who find it hard to carve out a niche in the market and retain customers. But as Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi, information technology is being used to try to beat the problem.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.

VOA Blogs