News / Asia

S. Korean President Predicts 'Big Changes' on Dealings with North

People watch a TV screen reporting South Korean President Lee Myung-bak delivers New Year's speech to the nation, at the Seoul Train Station in Seoul, South Korea, January 2, 2012.
People watch a TV screen reporting South Korean President Lee Myung-bak delivers New Year's speech to the nation, at the Seoul Train Station in Seoul, South Korea, January 2, 2012.

South Korea's president is predicting "big changes" on the peninsula following last month's death of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il.

President Lee Myung-bak, delivering his nationally televised New Year's address Monday, spoke of a turning point that he hopes can lead to progress.

Lee says South Korea is ready to resolve security concerns on the peninsula and provide assistance to revive impoverished North Korea's economy. But that can only happen, he explains, if Pyongyang suspends its nuclear development and an agreement can be reached at six-party talks.   

The international talks on Pyongyang's nuclear program have been on hiatus for several years.

The South Korean president also reiterated a warning that Seoul will respond strongly to any further provocation from Pyongyang.

Tension on the peninsula soared to its highest level in decades after two fatal incidents last year that the South blamed on the North: the sinking of a coastal naval vessel and the shelling of an island near disputed frontier waters in the Yellow Sea.

North Korea is maintaining its harsh criticism of the South Korean president. The latest commentary in a party newspaper, Rodong Sinmun, demands Lee "kneel down and apologize" for his stance towards the North.

Pyongyang does not have diplomatic relations with either Seoul or Washington. The two Koreas never signed a peace treaty following their civil war six decades ago. But during 2011 North Korea was engaged in separate one-on-one preliminary talks with both South Korea and the United States.

Those discussions, prior to Kim Jong Il's death, raised hopes there might be a resumption soon of the long-stalled six-way talks about North Korea's nuclear programs.

But the immediate priority in Pyongyang appears to be on securing an orderly transition to a third generation of the Kim family.

The announcer on North Korea' central television Monday requests the people follow, politically and militarily, the new supreme commander, Kim Jong Un.

North Korea's New Year's message, carried in the newspapers the previous day, urged everyone to be "human shields" to defend Kim "unto death."

Kim, who is under 30 years of age, has yet to be bestowed all of the key leadership titles of his late father. Besides being officially deemed supreme commander of the military and supreme leader of the country's only political party, he is now referred to as the "Great Successor."

North Korea's news agency says Kim, on New Year's Day, was already at work. He paid his respects at a mausoleum to his father and grandfather - Kim Il Sung, North Korea's founder - and inspected a military tank division.

You May Like

Video Protests Continue in Ferguson, Spread to Other US Cities

Missouri officials say deployment of more than 2,000 National Guard soldiers helps curb second night of rampant arson and looting in Midwestern town More

Video Ebola, Crackdown on Illegals Hit Business in Guangzhou

Chinese city has largest community of Africans in Asia More

Video Legendary Lebanese Actress, Singer Sabah Dies at 87

Music and film diva, affectionately called 'Sabbouha' by millions of her fans, performed at Carnegie Hall in New York, Royal Albert Hall in London, Olympia in Paris, Sydney Opera House in Sydney 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.
Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Changei
X
November 24, 2014 10:09 PM
Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid