News / Asia

    North, South Korea Hold Talks at ASEAN Conference

    East Asia Summit Foreign Ministers pose for a photo before their meeting in Bali, Indonesia, July 22, 2011.
    East Asia Summit Foreign Ministers pose for a photo before their meeting in Bali, Indonesia, July 22, 2011.

    Diplomats from North and South Korea have met on the sidelines of an Asian security conference in Bali to discuss resuming six-nation talks on Pyongyang's nuclear weapons. This is the first such high-level contact since the talks stalled in 2008.

    ASEAN chairman and Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa said facilitating Friday's meeting between North and South Korean officials was one of his objectives for the regional security forum.

    “The fact that the two Koreas met at official levels and the senior official level should not be underestimated, its importance. Because if we try, we can create fresh momentum for peaceful resolution and addressing all the matter on the Korean peninsula," he said.

    North Korea walked out of six-party negotiations to end its nuclear weapons program in 2008 to protest international criticism of its missile and nuclear tests. Relations with South Korea have been tense ever since.

    Foreign ministers from all six countries involved in the negotiations, the United States, China, Russia, Japan and North and South Korea, are attending the ASEAN conference in Bali, raising expectations that informal talks could take place.

    Pyongyang, which badly needs humanitarian and economic aid has indicated in recent months that it might be ready to return to the negotiations.

    South Korea's Wi Sung-lac.
    South Korea's Wi Sung-lac.
    South Korea has been reluctant to do so until the North apologizes for two military incidents last year that left 50 South Koreans dead, which Pyongyang has refused to do.

    Seoul's chief nuclear negotiator Wi Sung-lac said his meeting with North Korea's nuclear envoy Ri Yong Ho was "very constructive."

    The South's Yonhap news agency quoted Ri Yong Ho as saying they had agreed to work together to resume the stalled talks.

    North Korea's Ri Yong Ho.
    North Korea's Ri Yong Ho.
    Natalegawa says Friday's meeting is a step in the right direction.

    He also says ASEAN and China's agreement on guidelines for developing a code of conduct to settle disputes in the South China Sea is a step toward peacefully resolving another potential conflict.

    China, Taiwan the Philippines, Vietnam, Brunei and Malaysia hold conflicting territorial claims in the South China Sea, which is believed to hold huge oil and gas reserves. Some ASEAN members complain the guidelines do not directly focus on the disputed areas, but Natalegawa says they are something to build on.

    “As I said before these guidelines are not a pancea, not like a solution to all problems in the South China Sea," he said. "But it is far better to have it than not to have it, if not only because of the content, but what it symbolizes. It symbolizes, irrespective of the content, that China and ASEAN can get things done.”

    The U.S. has expressed support for the guidelines and ASEAN's efforts to address regional problems through negotiations and compromise. Washington says that freedom of shipping in the South China Sea is one of its national interests.

    You May Like

    Clinton, Trump and the 'Woman’s Card'

    Ask supporters of Democratic front-runner in US presidential campaign, and they’ll tell you Republican presidential candidate is playing a dangerous hand

    Russian Censorship Group Seeks Chinese Help to Better Control Internet

    At recent Safe Internet League forum in Moscow, speakers from both nations underscored desire for authorities to further limit and control information online

    Video Makeshift Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Free classes in Islamabad park serve a few of the country’s nearly 25 million out-of-school youths; NGO cites ‘education crisis’

    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.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora