News / Asia

Report Calls for Talks on Korean Maritime Boundary

A South Korean goverment ship (R) sails by Navy MSB (Movement Sea Base) off the South Korea-controlled island of Yeonpyeong near the disputed waters of the Yellow Sea, 22 Dec 2010
A South Korean goverment ship (R) sails by Navy MSB (Movement Sea Base) off the South Korea-controlled island of Yeonpyeong near the disputed waters of the Yellow Sea, 22 Dec 2010

An international group dedicated to preventing conflict warns of the risk of a wider conflict on the Korean peninsula. The report comes a month after an exchange of artillery fire that left four South Koreans dead.

The International Crisis Group is raising an alarm about the dispute over the maritime boundary between North and South Korea as Pyongyang appears to be preparing for a leadership transition. ICG says the volatile combination requires urgent measures to reduce the possibility of all-out war.

In a new report the group urges Pyongyang and Seoul to accept international arbitration on the dispute. North Korea does not recognize the Northern Limit Line in the Yellow Sea off the west coast. It was drawn by a U.S. commander in 1953 at the end of the Korean War.

Daniel Pinkston is the Northeast Asia deputy project director for the International Crisis Group. He acknowledges that right now, South Korea will be reluctant to negotiate a change in the boundary.

"It would be difficult politically in the South because it would almost certainly require what would appear to be concessions. And when you are talking about boundaries it appears to be a zero sum game," said Pinkston. "In the context of North Korea's recent behavior it would be very, very unpopular."

North Korea shelled Yeonpyeong island a month ago, killing South Koreans. It said it was responding to South Korean artillery.

South Korea has responded with a series of military exercises, including artillery training Monday on Yeonpyeong, and large war games near the land border on Thursday.

North Korea scholars speculate Pyongyang is raising tension to bolster the image of heir apparent Kim Jong Un. He is the son of leader Kim Jong Il.

The ICG's Pinkston says Washington and Beijing need to exercise their influence on Seoul and Pyongyang, but warns it may not help.

"Even though influence might be strong, it is not absolute. And, at the end of the day, Pyongyang and Seoul will do what it is in their national interests, as they define it," he said. "So we can't expect, China, for example, to simply flip a switch, and as people say, rein in Pyongyang. There are limits to their influence as there are limits to U.S. influence in Seoul."

Tensions have been rising since March when a South Korean warship in the Yellow Sea exploded and sank. Pyongyang rejects an international investigation that said the Cheonan was hit by a North Korean torpedo, killing 46 of the crew.

A former U.S. diplomat who visited Pyongyang this month calls the Korean peninsula a tinderbox.

Bill Richardson, the governor of the U.S. state of New Mexico told VOA's Korean Service that diplomacy is the only way out of danger.

"The situation is so, so, tense that there's got to be some kind of diplomat movement, a special envoy from the United Nations. China needs to get more engaged," said Richardson. "Eventually the six-party talks have to re-convene and let North Korea demonstrate that they're serious about their behavior and about negotiating."

Richardson says he has briefed U.S. officials about his visit and the concessions Pyongyang offered concerning its nuclear programs.

Richardson says the North Koreans told him they are ready to allow international inspections of their nuclear facilities and are willing to sell a stockpile of nuclear fuel rods that could be used to make plutonium bombs.

The White House says there is no point in returning to multi-national discussions until Pyongyang stops acting belligerently and makes good on promises to give up its nuclear weapons programs.

The North walked out of the six-nation talks in 2009.

You May Like

China’s Influence Grows With New Infrastructure Bank

Multibillion-dollar China-backed and BRICS-supported Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank seen as possible challenger to such lenders as IMF, World Bank More

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

Rabbi Michel Serfaty makes the rounds in his friendship bus to encourage dialogue and break down barriers between the two groups More

Post-deal Iran Leaders Need 'Economic Momentum' to Solidify

Economists say deal could inject more than $100 billion into coffers - not enough to entirely rescue ailing economy - but maybe adequate to create 'economic momentum' 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.
US Gay Marriage Ruling Yields Real-life Impacti
X
Michael Bowman
June 28, 2015 10:05 PM
Friday’s landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the United States is an outcome few thought possible just years ago, and shows a nation that increasingly tolerates and even celebrates the hopes and aspirations of gay people. VOA’s Michael Bowman spoke to a same-sex couple that will benefit from the high court ruling, and to a Christian scholar who is apprehensive about its potential consequences for America’s faith community.
Video

Video US Gay Marriage Ruling Yields Real-life Impact

Friday’s landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the United States is an outcome few thought possible just years ago, and shows a nation that increasingly tolerates and even celebrates the hopes and aspirations of gay people. VOA’s Michael Bowman spoke to a same-sex couple that will benefit from the high court ruling, and to a Christian scholar who is apprehensive about its potential consequences for America’s faith community.
Video

Video Syrians Flee IS Advance in Hasaka

The Syrian government said Monday it has taken back one of several districts in Hasaka overrun by Islamic State militants. But continued fighting elsewhere in the northern city has forced thousands of civilians from their homes. In this report narrated by Bill Rodgers, VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer describes the scene in Amouda, where some of the displaced are taking refuge.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video S. Korea Christians Protest Gay Rights Festival

The U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating marriage equality nationwide has energized gay rights supporters around the world. Gay rights remain a highly contentious issue in a key U.S. ally, South Korea, where police did a deft job Sunday of preventing potential clashes between Christian protesters and gay activists. Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Syrian Refugees Return to Tal Abyad

Syrian refugees in Turkey confirm they left their hometown of Tal Abyad because of intense fighting and coalition airstrikes, not because Kurdish fighters were engaged in ethnic cleansing, as some Turkish officials charged. VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer, in Tal Abyad, finds that civilians coming back to the town agree, as we hear in this report narrated by Roger Wilkison.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.
Video

Video In Syrian Crisis, Social Media Offer Small Comforts

Za’atari, a makeshift city in Jordan, may be the only Syrian refugee camp to tweet its activities, in an effort to keep donors motivated as the war in Syria intensifies and the humanitarian crisis deepens. Inside the camp, families say mobile phone applications help hold together families that are physically torn apart. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Chemical-Sniffing Technology Fights Australia's Graffiti Vandals

Cities and towns all over the world spend huge amounts of resources battling graffiti writers who deface buildings, public transport vehicles and even monuments. Authorities in Sydney, Australia, hope a new chemical-sniffing technology finally will stop vandals from scribbling on walls in the passenger areas of commuter trains. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Cambodia Struggling to Curb Child Labor

Earlier this year a United Nations report found 10 percent of Cambodian children aged 7-14 are working – one of the highest rates in the region – and said one in four children in that age bracket are forced to quit school to help their families. Although the child labor rate has dropped over the past decade, Cambodia has a lot more to do – including keeping more children in school. Robert Carmichael reports for VOA from Phnom Penh.

VOA Blogs