North, South Korea meet for second day of talks to improve ties

SEOUL, Korea, Republic Of -- North and South Korea started the second day of high-level talks at a North Korean border town on Saturday, a promising sign of reconciliation efforts after stepping away from a military standoff in August.

See Full Article

No major developments were expected from the presumably last day of the meetings between vice-ministerial officials in Kaesong, where the discussions stretched late into the night on Friday before the two sides decided to extend the talks.

Analysts still find the talks meaningful because they keep alive an atmosphere of dialogue -- something the rivals have often failed to do in the wake of conflict.

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.

"The South and North had comprehensive discussions on pending issues and thoughtfully exchanged their views," Seoul's Unification Ministry spokesman Jeong Joon-Hee said after Friday's talks, without elaborating on the issues that were discussed.

Expectations for the 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

  • On frozen fields, North Korean farmers prep for battle ahead

    World News CTV News
    PYONGYANG, Korea, Democratic People's Republic Of -- Plug your noses and ready your "Juche fertilizer." It's time to prep the frozen fields in North Korea. North Korea relies on its farmers to squeeze absolutely all they can out of every harvest. Source
  • Trump's revised travel ban targets same countries: AP source

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- A draft of President Donald Trump's revised immigration ban targets the same seven countries listed in his original executive order and exempts travellers who already have a visa to travel to the U.S. Source
  • The force is with Everett; Social media helps brings in Star Wars Kraft Dinner for autistic boy

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    NANAIMO, B.C. — Hundreds of boxes of a limited-edition pasta have filled the home of a family in Nanaimo, B.C., following a plea to help their autistic son. Reed Botwright put out a call on social media last week when he and his wife could not track down any more boxes of Star Wars Kraft Dinner, one of the only foods their six-year-old son Everett will eat. Source
  • Man seen in photos now 'main suspect' in Indiana double homicide

    World News Toronto Sun
    DELPHI, Ind. — A man photographed walking along a northern Indiana trail system around the time two teenage girls later found slain were dropped off by a relative is now considered “the main suspect” in their killings, State Police said Sunday. Source
  • Father of teen drug user urges parents to band together to save lives

    Canada News CTV News
    As an Ottawa-area family laid their 14-year-old daughter to rest Sunday following an apparent overdose, a local father is speaking up about his own teenage daughter’s struggle with drugs in the hope of saving lives. Source
  • Colorado town getting weed shop with drive-through window

    World News CTV News
    PARACHUTE, Colo. - The western Colorado town of Parachute is getting a drive-through marijuana shop believed to be the first in the state. The Glenwood Springs Post Independent reported Saturday the Parachute Board of Trustees approved a business license for Tumbleweed Express last week. Source
  • Edmonton police issue ticket for wearing a ferret while driving

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    A 24-hour traffic enforcement event by Edmonton police resulted in 2,442 violations, including a distracted driving ticket for a motorist wearing a live ferret around their neck while cruising along Whyte Avenue. Police issued 90 additional distracted driving tickets during the enforcement period from Feb. Source
  • Douglas Garland back in jail after inmate beating

    Canada News CBC News
    Douglas Garland is back behind bars, having been released from hospital after suffering a beating by fellow inmates at the Calgary Remand Centre late Friday night. Just hours after Garland, 57, was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for at least 75 years for the first-degree murders of Alvin and Kathy Liknes and their five-year-old grandson Nathan O'Brien, he was attacked by multiple inmates, suffering what EMS described as soft-tissue injuries. Source
  • Adolf Hitler's phone sold for US$243,000

    World News Toronto Sun
    CHESAPEAKE CITY, MD. - A Maryland auction house is selling Adolf Hitler’s personal travelling telephone. Bill Panagopulos of Alexander Historical Auctions in Chesapeake City says occupying Russian officers gave the phone to Brig. Sir Ralph Rayner during a visit to Hitler’s Berlin bunker. Source
  • Telephone owned by Adolf Hitler sells for $243,000

    World News CTV News
    CHESAPEAKE CITY, Md. - A telephone owned by Adolf Hitler has sold at auction for $243,000. Andreas Kornfeld of Alexander Historical Auctions says the phone sold Sunday afternoon to a person who bid by phone. Source