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

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid