Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

North Korea's defiance looms over talks with South

SEOUL, South Korea — When North and South Korean officials meet in Seoul on Wednesday and Thursday for their first high-level dialogue in six years, the South will face a government with a nuclear policy that has become more defiant under its young new leader, Kim Jong Un.

The two sides intend to discuss reopening a joint industrial complex in a North Korean border town and other economic and humanitarian projects. The meeting will be the first dialogue at a senior level since Kim took power after the death in 2011 of his father, Kim Jong Il.

Under the young Kim, North Korea has declared that it is no longer interested in talks on ending its nuclear weapons program, and its ruling Workers' Party adopted a national strategy of reviving the country's moribund economy while continuing to expand its nuclear arsenal.

"That may sound like nonsense to outsiders, but it makes perfect internal sense in North Korea," said Bong Young Shik, a senior research fellow at the Asan Institute for Policy Studies in Seoul. "Giving up nuclear weapons is like abandoning the survival strategy for its regime. Giving up the economy is like giving up the role of the party as the mother of the people."

To achieve the economic part of its objective, North Korea needed its adversaries — especially South Korea, the country with the biggest potential for helping its economic recovery — to ease sanctions. But after years of dialogue failed to persuade North Korea to stop developing nuclear weapons, the adversaries have grown increasingly weary of engaging the country in another round of talks. They have focused, instead, on pressuring the country with more sanctions.

China, a traditional ally, also has shown signs of frustration with North Korea. After North Korea's nuclear test in February, Beijing supported the U.N. move to impose more sanctions on the North, barred its state banks from dealing with the North's Foreign Trade Bank and reportedly tightened its cross-border inspections.

"Kim Jong Un realized that its old tactic of using provocations to extract concessions no longer works," said Woo Seong Ji, a North Korea specialist at Kyung Hee University in South Korea. "So he is switching to dialogue to shake up the situation."

After months of bellicose talk, an agreement to have a dialogue, reached Monday, created a sense of easing tensions on the divided peninsula.

But absent in the agenda for the Korean talks was any direct mention of North Korea's nuclear weapons program, indicating how stubborn the North's position remained on the issue.

North Korea's defiance looms over talks with South 06/10/13 [Last modified: Monday, June 10, 2013 11:03pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Associated Press.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Rays morning after: Wilson Ramos showing glimpses of what's possible in 2018

    Blogs

    The real payoff for the Rays signing C Wilson Ramos last off-season will come in 2018, when he can play a full season fully recovered from right knee surgery.

    And Ramos is giving the Rays a pretty good glimpse of what that can be like.

    In Friday's 8-3 win over the Orioles, he hit a grand slam - …

  2. Buccaneers-Vikings Scouting Report: Watching Kyle Rudolph, Adam Thielen and Everson Griffen

    Bucs

    No matter how much film we study, no matter how much data we parse, we just don't know how an NFL season will unfold.

    Four of tight end Kyle Rudolph's seven catches this season have come on third down, including this 15-yard touchdown in the Vikings' opener against the Saints. [Getty Images]
  3. Pinellas construction licensing board needs to be fixed. But how?

    Local Government

    LARGO –– Everyone agrees that the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board needs to be reformed. But no one agrees on how to do it.

    Rodney Fischer, former executive director of the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board Rodney, at a February meeting. His management of the agency was criticized by an inspector general's report. [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]

  4. Sue Carlton: Job or family when a hurricane's coming — a very Florida conundrum

    Hurricanes

    It must seem as foreign to Northerners as shoveling snow is to those of us raised in the Sunshine State: The very-Florida conundrum of having to choose between work and family — between paycheck and personal safety — when a hurricane comes.

    A hurricane helps the rest of us acknowledge the police officers, paramedics, hospital personnel, public works employees and others who stay on the job despite the storm. 
  5. After Tampa concert, Arcade Fire members party, preach politics at Crowbar

    Blogs

    After waiting more than a decade for Arcade Fire’s first appearance in Tampa, fans didn’t have to wait long for their second.

    DJ Windows 98, a.k.a. singer Win Butler of Arcade Fire, performed at a "Disco Town Hall" at Crowbar following the band's concert at the USF Sun Dome on Sept. 22, 2017.