Where The Two Koreas Finally Meet

Where The Two Koreas Finally Meet
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This legendary meeting will add the list why Bali is really famous in the world. The chief nuclear negotiators for South and North Korea met Friday, 22 july of 2011, for the first time since 2008, raising cautious hopes that after months of recriminations the countries were inching toward broader talks on ending the North’s nuclear weapons program. The negotiators, Wi Sung-lac of South Korea and Ri Yong-ho, a newly appointed North Korean envoy, met on the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations regional forum being held in Bali, in Indonesia, officials in Seoul said. Nuclear negotiators from the two Koreas last sat together in late 2008, when delegates from six nations met for nuclear talks. Those talks stalled amid tensions over South Korea’s harder line toward the North, United Nations sanctions imposed on the North after it launched a long-range rocket and staged its second nuclear test in 2009, and military actions by the North, including the shelling of a South Korean island last November. The need to check the development of North Korea’s nuclear weapons program gained urgency after the North revealed an industrial-scale plant for enriching uranium in November. The plant showed that the North was gaining a new means to make nuclear bombs — in addition to its existing plutonium program — and, potentially, to proliferate the technology. South Korea has insisted that the United States, China, Russia and Japan — all parties to the six-nation talks — not give in to what it considers North Korea’s tactic of using military provocations and other tension-raising maneuvers to force the other nations to rejoin the nuclear talks under terms that favor the North. The meeting in Bali satisfies a South Korean precondition for convening the broader talks: that the North sit down with the South first to discuss its nuclear weapons program. “We have agreed to make efforts to reconvene the six-party talks as soon as possible,” Mr. Ri told reporters in Bali after his meeting with Mr. Wi. Later. Mr. Wi made a similar remark to South Korean reporters. Despite such statements, it remained unclear whether the North Korean negotiator had given Mr. Wi a persuasive commitment to denuclearization, another South Korean demand. Having a North Korean envoy meet with his South Korean counterpart about the North’s nuclear weapons program is symbolically important for South Korea, which is trying to increase its leverage over the North and make it respect the South. After months of boycotting the nuclear disarmament talks, North Korea has recently called for their resumption. The North says it is willing to give up its nuclear weapons programs in return for economic rewards, diplomatic recognition, a peace treaty with the United States. After years of tumultuous talks, suspicions have grown among some South Korean and American officials that North Korea may be using the talks just to extract economic concessions while buying time to perfect its nuclear weapons technology. But the United States and its allies have been unable to find an effective alternative to dialogue, except for applying sanctions and appealing to China. Earlier Friday, Foreign Minister Pak Ui-chun of North Korea, speaking with South Korean reporters in Bali, confirmed that Mr. Ri, a longtime North Korean participant in talks with American officials, had been appointed as the North’s chief envoy to the six-nation talks. The meeting Friday may be followed by a higher-level meeting between Mr. Pak and his South Korean counterpart, Kim Sung-hwan, who is also in Bali, officials in Seoul said. source : New York Times

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