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

  • Four richest Indonesians wealthier than poorest 100 million

    World News CTV News
    JAKARTA, Indonesia - A report on inequality in Indonesia says its four richest men now have more wealth than 100 million of the country's poorest people. The report released Thursday by Oxfam said Indonesia, with a population of more than 250 million, has the sixth-worst inequality in the world. Source
  • Japanese Crown Prince vows to follow father's footsteps

    World News CTV News
    TOKYO - Japan's Crown Prince Naruhito marked his 57th birthday Thursday with a pledge to follow in his father's footsteps as symbol of the nation when his father's abdication wish is realized. Naruhito is first in line to Japan's Chrysanthemum throne and will succeed Emperor Akihito, now 83. Source
  • Saskatoon woman wants 'sizeism' added to human rights protections

    Canada News CTV News
    A Saskatoon woman is campaigning to have size and physical appearance added to the Saskatchewan Human Rights Legislation as protected grounds against discrimination. “I don’t want other people to feel held back,” Hayley Roesler told CTV Saskatoon. Source
  • North Korea says Malaysian investigation into Kim Jong Nam's death lacks fairness

    World News CTV News
    SEOUL, Korea, Republic Of -- North Korea says a Malaysian investigation into the death of one of its nationals is full of "holes and contradictions" amid speculation that its agents masterminded the assassination of leader Kim Jong Un's half brother. Source
  • North Korea denies it was behind killing at Malaysia airport

    World News CTV News
    KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia -- North Korea denied Thursday that its agents masterminded the assassination of the half brother of leader Kim Jong Un, saying a Malaysian investigation into the death of one of its nationals is full of "holes and contradictions. Source
  • Mayor of Ryley, Alta., defends decision to charge senior for house painting

    Canada News CTV News
    The mayor of an Alberta village where an 86-year-old man says he was forced to sell his home after getting a $3,285 bill from the city for painting its “unsightly” exterior is sticking by the decision. Source
  • British man 'will never see a penny' of ex's $24M lottery winnings

    World News Toronto Sun
    There’s bad luck. Then there’s Sean Priestley-level bad luck. Just months after splitting with long-time partner Beverley Doran — he was with her 12 years and fathered her three children — he was stunned to discover she’d won nearly $24 million in the Euromillions lottery. Source
  • ‘If we all stand up it can stop’: Pink Shirt Day marked around the world

    Canada News CTV News
    As messages of hate seem to be ever present, Pink Shirt Day reminds Canadians of the importance of standing up for one another and fighting stereotypes. Pink Shirt Day started in Nova Scotia in 2007 after a male Grade 9 student was bullied for wearing a pink shirt to school. Source
  • 'If we all stand up it can stop': Pink Shirt Day hopes to end bullying

    Canada News CTV News
    As messages of hate seem to be ever present, Pink Shirt Day reminds Canadians of the importance of standing up for one another and fighting stereotypes. Pink Shirt Day started in Nova Scotia in 2007 after a male Grade 9 student was bullied for wearing a pink shirt to school. Source
  • UN: $4.4B needed within weeks to stop hunger 'catastrophe'

    World News CTV News
    The United Nations needs $4.4 billion by the end of March to prevent catastrophic hunger and famine in South Sudan, Nigeria, Somalia and Yemen, yet just $90 million has been collected so far, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Wednesday. Source