North, South Korea hold talks aimed to improve ties

SEOUL, Korea, Republic Of - North and South Korea on Friday held high-level talks at a North Korean border town, a small step meant to improve ties battered by a military standoff in August and decades of acrimony and bloodshed.

See Full Article

No major breakthrough was expected at the meeting of vice-ministerial officials in Kaesong, but analysts see even these relatively low-level talks as meaningful because they seek to carry out previously agreed reconciliation efforts - something the rivals have often failed to do in the past.

South Korean officials want to discuss more reunions between aging family members separated by the 1950-53 Korean War. Analysts have said cash-strapped North Korea might seek the South's commitment to restart joint tours to its scenic Diamond Mountain resort, which were suspended by Seoul in 2008 following the shooting death of a South Korean tourist there by a North Korean soldier.

"There are a lot of issues to discuss between the South and North. (We) will do our best to resolve them one at a time, step by step," said Hwang Boogi, South Korea's vice minister of unification and the head negotiator for the talks, before leaving for Kaesong.

Expectations for Friday's meeting dropped last month when both sides in preparatory negotiations settled for a meeting at the vice-ministerial level. This likely ruled out discussions on more important issues.

Still, any negotiations between the rivals, which are separated by the world's most heavily armed border, should improve upon the situation in August when they threatened each other with war over land mine explosions that maimed two South Korean soldiers.

The standoff eased after marathon talks and an agreement on efforts to reduce animosity. Those included a resumption of talks between senior officials and a new round of reunions for war-separated families, which were held in October.

Analysts say quick improvements in ties are unlikely because the rivals remain far apart on major issues, such as Pyongyang's nuclear weapons ambitions and the broad economic sanctions the South has imposed on the North since 2010, when Seoul blamed a North Korean torpedo for a warship sinking that killed 46 South Koreans.

Improving relations with Seoul is a priority for young North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, who likely wants tangible diplomatic and economic achievements before a convention of the ruling Workers' Party in May, said Koh Yu-hwan, a North Korea expert at Seoul's Dongguk University.

It is widely expected that Kim will use the congress, the party's first since 1980, to announce major state polices and shake up the country's political elite to further consolidate his power.

The Korean Peninsula remains technically at war, because the Korean War ended with an armistice, not a peace treaty.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Resistance 150: Why everyone isn't celebrating Canada's birthday

    Canada News CTV News
    As organizers ramp up anticipation for Canada’s big bash honouring the 150th anniversary of Confederation, indigenous activists are rallying their own counter-celebrations. The #Resistance150 movement was created nearly eight months ago by Anishinaabe traditional storyteller and teacher Isaac Murdoch, Michif visual artist Christi Belcourt, Cree activist Tanya Kappo and Métis author Maria Campbell while they were discussing the government’s planned festivities for Canada 150. Source
  • CNN retraction, resignations prompt fresh swipe from Trump

    World News CBC News
    U.S. President Donald Trump used the resignations of three CNN journalists involved in a retracted Russia-related story to resume his attack on the network's credibility Tuesday. The story was about a supposed investigation into a pre-inaugural meeting between a Trump associate and the head of a Russian investment fund. Source
  • 'It happened very quick': Winnipegger sucker-punched by stranger

    Canada News CTV News
    A Winnipeg woman is worried she may lose the sight in one of her eyes after she says she was punched in the face by a stranger. Brittney Thomas-Ljungberg, 28, says the attack happened Sunday in Winnipeg’s Exchange District. Source
  • Soiled diapers, feces-filled jeans dumped outside elderly couple's home

    Canada News CTV News
    An elderly couple in Nova Scotia says they're tired of the "crap" someone keeps dumping at the end of their driveway. Jack and Mary Skinner say someone has been leaving soiled diapers, dirty underpants and men's jeans filled with feces outside their country home in Upper Branch N.S. Source
  • The Queen is getting a raise

    World News CBC News
    Queen Elizabeth is set to receive an increase in the official funding she receives each year. Buckingham Palace said Tuesday the "sovereign grant" will be roughly $138 million Cdn next year — an increase of more than $10 million Cdn. Source
  • British PM calls for 'major national investigation' into cladding after deadly blaze

    World News CBC News
    British Prime Minister Theresa May said Tuesday there must be a "major national investigation" into the use of potentially flammable cladding fitted to high-rise towers across the country, as police formally identified a five-year-old boy as one of youngest victims of London's Grenfell Tower fire tragedy. Source
  • Black teens pushing float weren’t meant to resemble slaves, parade organizers say

    Canada News CTV News
    Organizers of this year's St. Jean Baptiste celebrations in Montreal have issued an apology to anyone offended by the sight of black teens pushing floats carrying white people during Saturday's parade. A video recorded at the parade and posted online shows pop singer Annie Villeneuve on a float being pushed by what appears to be only people of colour dressed in what many said looked like the rags of slaves. Source
  • China hits back at U.S. on human trafficking downgrade

    World News CTV News
    BEIJING -- China has pre-emptively hit back at the United States for speaking "irresponsibly" ahead of an expected Trump administration move to name China among the world's worst human trafficking offenders. Foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said Tuesday that China strongly opposes the U.S. Source
  • For many, Canada 150 celebrations pale in comparison to nostalgia of Expo 67

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO -- Dominic Ardonato doesn't see much reason to celebrate Canada's 150th birthday. The retired high school teacher complains about a disappointing economy, racial divides, and political squabbles that dominate his life in Montreal. Source
  • See the view from CN Tower’s new floor-to-ceiling 'window walls'

    Canada News CTV News
    At nearly 41 years old, the CN Tower is making a very sensible, middle-aged adjustment: it's getting transition lenses. The iconic structure in the heart of Toronto has revealed a major renovation on its viewing deck, where two self-tinting, floor-to-ceiling window walls were just unveiled. Source