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

Ebola Death Toll Nears 5,000 as Virus Advances

West Africa bears heaviest burden; Mali toddler’s death raises new fears More

Jordan’s Battle With Islamic State Militants Carries Domestic Risks

Despite Western concerns that IS militants are preparing a Jordanian offensive, analysts call the kingdom's solid intel a strong deterrent More

Asian-Americans Assume Office in Record Numbers

Steadily deepening engagement in local politics pays off for politicians like Chinese-American Judy Chu 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.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Comanche Chief Quanah Parker’s Century-Old House Falling Apart

One of the most fascinating people in U.S. history was Quanah Parker, the last chief of the American Indian tribe, the Comanche. He was the son of a Comanche warrior and a white woman who had been captured by the Indians. Parker was a fierce warrior until 1875 when he led his people to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and took on a new, peaceful life. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Cache, Oklahoma, Quanah’s image remains strong among his people, but part of his heritage is in danger of disappearing.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid