News / Asia

South Korea’s President Requests North to End Policy of Confrontation

People carry a large scale South Korean national flag during an anti-North Korea rally marking Memorial Day in Seoul, June 6, 2011
People carry a large scale South Korean national flag during an anti-North Korea rally marking Memorial Day in Seoul, June 6, 2011

South Korea’s president is signaling to North Korea that he would like to calm rising tension on the peninsula. In remarks on Monday, he repeated an offer to pursue a path towards peace with Pyongyang.

In a Memorial Day address, President Lee Myung-bak called on North Korea to peacefully engage with the South.

The president says North Korea should stop pursuing confrontation and conflict and, instead, pursue a path of peace and prosperity. In return, he promised South Korea would patiently continue to make sincere and consistent efforts for peace on the Korean peninsula.

The two Koreas have no diplomatic relations. They fought an inconclusive civil war for three years in the early 1950s and no peace treaty has ever been signed.

The president, in his speech at the National Cemetery, made no mention of recent secret discussions between officials of the two countries.

North Korea last week revealed the clandestine talks, which took place in May in Beijing. Pyongyang alleged South Korean government officials begged and offered bribes to attempt to arrange a summit between leaders of the two countries.

South Korea’s government has had little to say about the talks. But officials here deny they were attempting to arrange a summit, explaining rather they were trying to extract apologies from Pyongyang for two incidents last year that heightened tensions.

In his Memorial Day speech, President Lee said the provocation in 2010 by North Korea prompted the South to strengthen its defenses.

Seoul blames Pyongyang for the sinking in March last year of a South Korean naval warship in the Yellow Sea. An international investigation concluded that a North Korean torpedo sank the Cheonan, killing 46 sailors. Pyongyang has repeatedly denied involvement.

In November, North Korea fired artillery shells on Yeonpyeong island during South Korean military exercises, killing four people on the frontier island in the Yellow Sea.

The incidents put inter-Korean relations into a deeper chill.

Lee, since coming to office in 2008, broke with the tradition of his predecessors who attempted to engage with the communist North and provide the impoverished country with badly needed aid.

President Lee has linked any aid to the North taking steps to get rid of its nuclear programs.

In his Monday address, Lee also told his citizens that they should be prepared for re-unification with the North at any time. He called re-unification not a matter of choice but “a must” that should be pursued at any cost because it would lead to prosperity for all of the Korean people.

South Korea ranks about 15th globally in nominal gross domestic product.

North Korea’s centrally-planned economy, on the other hand is only a fraction of the South’s. It is heavily dependent on trade with its only significant ally, China.

You May Like

Photogallery Pistorius Sentenced, Taken to Prison

Pistorius, convicted of culpable homicide in shooting death of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, will likely serve about 10 months of five-year sentence, before completing it under house arrest More

UN to Aid Central Africa in Polio Vaccinations

Synchronized vaccinations will be conducted after Cameroon reports a fifth case of the wild polio virus in its territory More

WHO: Ebola Vaccine May Be in Use by Jan.

WHO assistant director Dr. Marie Paule Kieny says clinical trials of Ebola vaccines are underway or planned in Europe, US and Africa 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.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
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 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 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 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.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid