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

    Candidates' Comments Fly Like New Hampshire Snowflakes

    Four days ahead of the country's first-in-the-nation Republican and Democratic party primary elections, surveys show the parties' contests tightening

    South Korea Says North Korea Moving Closer to Rocket Launch

    In phone call, US President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping agree that Pyongyang's move would be 'provocative'

    Australian Commander: IS Changing Tactics

    Head of Australian forces in Middle East talks with VOA about training Iraqi troops, countering evolving Islamic State efforts and defeating extremism

    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.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.