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.
TEXT SIZE - +

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

'Exceptionally Lucky' US Boy Survives Flight in Wheel Well

The boy was unconscious for most of the flight, and appeared to be unharmed after enduring the extremely cold temperatures and lack of oxygen More

US Anti-Corruption Law Snags Major Tech Company

The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act was signed into law by President Jimmy Carter in December, 1977 More

Cameron Criticized for Calling UK 'Christian Country'

Letter from scientists, academics and writers says the prime minister is fostering division by repeatedly referring to England as a 'Christian country' 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.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid