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

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years 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.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs