Rival Koreas end meeting with little progress

2014-02-13 10:05

(Shutterstock)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Seoul - The highest-level talks between the rival Koreas in years ended with little progress because of North Korea's call for the delay of annual US-South Korean military drills set to start later this month, South Korean officials said on Thursday.

Officials in Seoul said Wednesday's meeting was requested by North Korea, which has launched a recent charm offensive after raising tensions last spring with repeated threats to fire nuclear-tipped missiles against Seoul and Washington.

Later this month, the two Koreas are to hold reunions of families separated since the 1950-53 Korean War.

The reunions would be the first of their kind in more than three years, and some outside analysts believe they will go forward despite Pyongyang's anger over military drills and cancellation of similar planned meetings last year. North Korea is seen as needing good ties with Seoul to pursue outside investment and aid and to win a resumption of lucrative co-operative ventures with the South.

During the meeting, South Korea stressed to North Korea that the smooth arrangement of the scheduled family reunions is a first step toward improving inter-Korean ties, according to a statement issued early on  Thursday by the South's Unification Ministry, which is responsible for ties with North Korea. The statement said the two Koreas agreed to continue discussions but didn't say when the next meeting would be held.

North Korea demanded South Korea delay the annual military drills set to begin on 24 February with the United States until the end of the family reunions, which are scheduled to start on 20 February and end five days later, the statement said.

South Korea refused, saying it cannot link a purely humanitarian matter to a military issue. The military drills, which Pyongyang claims are preparations for an invasion but the allies call routine, are to end in mid-April.

Tensions

North Korea said it basically agrees on holding the reunions but doesn't want them to happen when the South Korea-US military drills are underway, a South Korean Unification Ministry official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because of department rules.

That position indicates Pyongyang may cancel the part of the reunions that overlaps with the first two days of the military drills, said Koh Yu-hwan, a professor at Seoul's Dongguk University.

North Korea cancelled planned reunions at the last minute in September, and has recently threatened to scrap this month's reunions because of the upcoming US-South Korean military drills. But outside analysts say it's unlikely that North Korea will halt the reunions this time because improved ties with South Korea are needed if it is to attract help for its struggling economy.

After high tensions last year, there has been a gradual softening in Seoul's stance toward Pyongyang in recent weeks, according to Robert Carlin, a contributor to 38 North, a North Korea-focused website, and a former US State Department official.

"Depending on whether both sides are looking for progress or want to dig in their heels, this would seem to open the way to exploration of various compromises," Carlin, a frequent visitor to North Korea, wrote of the Wednesday meeting in a 38 North commentary provided to The Associated Press. "When they want to be, both sides are capable of imaginative solutions to what at first look to be intractable problems."

South Korea has so far dismissed North Korea's recent proposals for a series of measures that Pyongyang says are needed to ease tensions, saying the North must first take nuclear disarmament steps and show how sincere it is about its stated desire to improve ties.

North Korea on Wednesday also took issue again with South Korean media reports critical of its leaders and political system and insisted South Korea control its media, the South's statement said. South Korea rejected the North's demands.

- AP
Read more on:    south korea  |  us  |  north korea
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
 

Joburg hot spots for cocktails, craft beer, tapas and wine!

It’s the season to be jolly – so we’ve rounded up some new Joburg hot spots!

 
 

I love summer.24

Christmas lingerie to make this festive season the best one ever!
13 things you might not know about Disneyland
The craziest deaths of 2014
How to make this a sensual, sexy summer!

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

2DAYS ONLY – 30% off Appliances

Coffee makers, blenders, fans, juicers and more. T&Cs apply. Shop now!

2 DAYS ONLY – 40% off books

Get 40% off when you buy 2 books. For two days only! T&Cs apply. Buy now!

Up to 50% off on outdoor gear

Save on chairs, blankets, cooler bags, umbrellas and more. Shop now!

Save on Samsung

Cameras, mobile phones, TVs, Tablets and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Grand Theft Auto 5

Now available on PS4, Xbox One and PC from R649. Buy now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

There is so much going on around you and inside your head. You may want to take your ideas to the next level. Romance may be...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.