News / Asia

Lee Expresses Desire for Talks with North Korea

South Korea's president is signaling a change in his position on talks with North Korea.

Lee Myung-bak on Wednesday expressed a desire for dialogue with Pyongyang, saying Seoul's tough military posture alone will not ease tensions on the Korean peninsula.

Mr. Lee also said international negotiations to dismantle North Korea's nuclear weapons programs need to revive in the new year.

The president says it is critical next year, through the six-party talks, to achieve progress on persuading Pyongyang to end its nuclear ambitions ahead of its goal of becoming a "great, powerful and prosperous" nation in 2012.

Since North Korea shelled a South Korean island last month, Mr. Lee's public comments have focused on deterring further provocation through military readiness and national unity.  The military here conducted a series of war games intended to demonstrate its resolve.

Choi Jin-wook is the director of the Center for South-North Korean Cooperation Studies at the Institute for National Unification in Seoul.

"This is the time for us to talk about the nuclear issue at [the] six-party talks format. So I think this is based on a close cooperation with Washington and Seoul, including Japan," he said.

China pushed for an emergency resumption of the stalled talks after the shelling of Yeonpyeong island. But Seoul, Tokyo and Washington expressed strong reservations, saying Pyongyang should not be rewarded for belligerency.

The discussions, which also include Russia, are aimed at getting North Korea to end its nuclear weapons program, in exchange for economic and diplomatic concessions.

The talks began in 2003 and broke down in 2008. Since then North Korea has conducted missile and nuclear tests. Earlier this year North Korea was blamed for a torpedo attack on a South Korean navy vessel in the Yellow Sea. Pyongyang denies involvement.

Tensions further escalated with the bombardment of Yeonpyeong, which killed four South Koreans. Pyongyang said it was provoked by a South Korean live-firing exercise into the sea close to a maritime border that the North does not recognize.

South Korean, Japanese and U.S. officials have said that North Korea needs to take concrete action on giving up its nuclear programs before talks could resume.

Many regional analysts say impoverished North Korea is entering a critical phase ahead of 2012, the 100th anniversary of the birth of its first leader, Kim Il Sung. His son, Kim Jong Il, rules now, and his grandson is expected to be the third in the family to rule.

The grandson, Kim Jong Un, has been named a general, despite having no military experience. Some North Korea experts say he may try to burnish his reputation at home with attacks against the South, as his father did three decades ago.

You May Like

African States Push to Keep Boko Haram Offline

Central African telecoms ministers working with Nigeria to block all videos posted by Boko Haram in effort to blunt Nigerian militant group's propaganda More

Falling Oil Prices, Internet-Savvy Youth Pose Challenge for Gulf Monarchies

Across the Gulf, younger generations are putting a strain on traditional politics More

Philippines Call Center Workers Face Challenges

Country has world’s largest business process outsourcing, or BPO, industry, employing some one-million workers More

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.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More