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, Steve Herman is VOA's Southeast Asia Bureau Chief and Correspondent, based in Bangkok.

You May Like

Jihadist Assassin says Goal of Tunisia Murders Was Chaos

Abu Muqatil at-Tunusi’s remarks in a propaganda interview also cast light on attack on Bardo Museum More

Russia Denies License to Tatar-Language TV Station in Crimea

OSCE official says denial shows 'politically selective censorship of free and independent voices in Crimea is continuing' More

Kenyan Startups Tackle Expensive Remittances Through Bitcoin

Some think services could give Western Union a run for its money, though others say it’s still got a long way to go 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.
For Obama, It's More Business Than Friendships With World Leadersi
X
Aru Pande
April 01, 2015 9:09 PM
The rift between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has put a spotlight on the importance of the American leader’s personal relationships with other world leaders and what role such friendships play in foreign policy. VOA's Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video For Obama, It's More Business Than Friendships With World Leaders

The rift between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has put a spotlight on the importance of the American leader’s personal relationships with other world leaders and what role such friendships play in foreign policy. VOA's Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video Buhari: Nigeria Has ‘Embraced Democracy’

Nigeria woke up to a new president-elect Wednesday, Muhammadu Buhari. But people say democracy is the real winner as the country embarks on its first peaceful handover of power since the end of military rule in 1999. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Abuja.
Video

Video Tiny Camera Sees Inside Blood Vessels

Ahead of any surgical procedure, doctors try to learn as much as possible about the state of the organs they plan to operate on. A new camera developed in the Netherlands can now make that easier - giving surgeons an incredibly detailed look inside blood vessels, all the way to the patient’s heart. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Latin American Groups Seek Fans at Texas Music Festival

Latin American music groups played all over Austin, Texas, during the recent South by Southwest festival, and some made fans out of locals as well as people from around the world who had come to hear music. Such exposure can boost such groups' image back home. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Stockton Community, Police, Work to Improve Relations

Relations are tense between minority communities and police departments around the United States following police shootings that have generated widely-publicized protests. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Stockton, California, where police and community groups are working toward solutions, with backing from Washington.
Video

Video Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedom

Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Report: State of Black America a 'Tale of Two Nations'

The National Urban League has described this year's "State of Black America" report as a "tale of two nations." The group's annual report, released earlier this month (March), found that under an equality index African Americans had only 72% parity compared to whites in areas such as education, economics, health, social justice and civic engagement. It’s a gap that educators and students at Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College are looking to close. VOA's Daniela Schrier reports from the school.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials Underway in West Africa

Ebola has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people in West Africa. Since last summer, researchers have rushed to get anti-Ebola vaccines into clinical trials. While it's too early to say that any of the potential vaccines work, some scientists say they are seeing strong results from some of the studies. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.

VOA Blogs

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