News / Asia

Korean Military Talks Break Down

North Korean Colonel Ri Son-kwon (front R) and other North Korean delegates cross the border escorted by a South Korean solder (front L) for military talks at the truce village of Panmunjom in Paju, February 9, 2011.
North Korean Colonel Ri Son-kwon (front R) and other North Korean delegates cross the border escorted by a South Korean solder (front L) for military talks at the truce village of Panmunjom in Paju, February 9, 2011.

South Korea says two days of military talks with North have broken off with no agreement, setting back hopes for a thaw in tense relations between the two countries.

Officials offered no immediate explanation for the breakdown after colonels from the North and South Korean militaries met for a second day in the truce village of Panmunjom. After a session lasting about 20 minutes on Wednesday, the North Korean delegation "walked out," said a South Korean Defense Ministry official.

The talks ended with no agreement on an agenda for a meeting of more senior officers or even a date for another working-level meeting.

The two Koreas, however, are considering holding Red Cross talks so they can resume reunions of families separated on the peninsula for decades.

Unification Ministry spokeswoman Lee Jong-joo said Seoul on Wednesday responded to the North’s request to resume dialogue on humanitarian issues.

Lee said the notification does not mean that the two Red Cross societies will actually hold talks, but, rather the South agrees, in principle, to the North’s suggestion that the talks should be held. Details of the meeting, she added, will be discussed as Seoul monitors the conditions of South-North relations.

The military talks had offered hope that tensions could be eased on the peninsula. But officials here say the North’s delegation rebuffed the South’s attempt to focus discussion on two lethal incidents last year.

Seoul insisted that Pyongyang apologize for the sinking of a South Korean navy ship last March and an artillery attack on Yeonpyeong island in November.

North Korea denies any connection to the explosion that sent the South Korean ship to the bottom of the Yellow Sea. It has expressed regret for the civilian casualties, but offered no apology for the shelling of Yeonpyeong.

Officials indicated the collapse of the military talks could delay Red Cross discussions.

Also Wednesday, South Korea indicated it would allow 31 North Koreans who drifted into its waters to return home. They were on a fishing boat that crossed over the sea border Saturday. They were taken to Incheon for questioning by South Korean authorities.

North Korea has demanded their return.

South Korea’s Unification Ministry said it will respect the “free will” of the individuals, who have not expressed any desire to defect.

The two Koreas have no diplomatic relations. After a devastating three-year civil war in the early 1950’s a truce - but not a peace treaty - went into effect.


Steve Herman

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

You May Like

Photogallery Americans Celebrate Thanksgiving With Feasts, Festivities

Holiday traditions include turkey dinners, 'turkey trots,' American-style football and New York parade with giant balloons More

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

With two years left in term, analysts say, president has less to lose by taking conversation on race further More

Video Italian Espresso Expands Into Space

When Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti headed for the ISS, her countrymen worried how she would survive six months drinking only instant coffee 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.
South Africa Sees Male Circumcision as Way to Reduce HIV Infectionsi
X
November 28, 2014 3:31 PM
South Africa remains plagued by AIDS despite massive government and NGO efforts on prevention and life-sustaining Anti-Retro-Viral programs. But the country has opened up another front to reduce new HIV infections: promoting circumcision. Emilie Iob reports for VOA News from a pioneering circumcision center in Orange Farm, Johannesburg.
Video

Video South Africa Sees Male Circumcision as Way to Reduce HIV Infections

South Africa remains plagued by AIDS despite massive government and NGO efforts on prevention and life-sustaining Anti-Retro-Viral programs. But the country has opened up another front to reduce new HIV infections: promoting circumcision. Emilie Iob reports for VOA News from a pioneering circumcision center in Orange Farm, Johannesburg.
Video

Video To Make A Living, Nairobi Street Vendors Face Legal Hurdles, Physical Violence

The Nairobi City Council has been accused of brutality in dealing with hawkers in the Central Business District - in order to stop them from illegally selling their wares on the streets. Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

Throughout the crisis in Ferguson, Missouri, President Barack Obama has urged calm, restraint and respect for the rule of law. But the events in Ferguson have prompted him to call — more openly than he has before — for profound changes to end the racism and distrust that he believes still exists between whites and blacks in the United States. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Online Magazine Gets Kids Discussing Big Questions

Teen culture in America is often criticized for being superficial. But an online magazine has been encouraging some teenagers to explore deeper issues, and rewarding their efforts. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky went to this year’s Kidspirit awards ceremony in New York.
Video

Video US Community Kicks Off Thanksgiving With Parade

Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States, a holiday whose roots go back to the country's earliest days as a British colony. One way Americans celebrate the occasion is with parades. Anush Avetisyan takes us to one such event on the day before Thanksgiving near Washington, where a community's diversity is on display. Joy Wagner narrates
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.

All About America

AppleAndroid