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. Car bomb kills 13, injures 24 in Baghdad; Islamic State claims responsibility

    World

    BAGHDAD — A car bomb exploded outside a popular ice cream shop in central Baghdad just after midnight today, killing 13 people and wounding 24, hospital and police officials said.

  2. Leaping shark floors angler in Australia

    World

    In The Old Man and the Sea, Ernest Hemingway's protagonist battles for three days to pull in his prized catch. For Terry Selwood, it came a little more suddenly.

    A 9-foot shark lies on the deck of a fishing boat at Evans Head, Australia on Sunday. Fisherman Terry Selwood said he was left with a badly bruised and bleeding right arm where the shark struck him with a fin as it landed on him on the deck. [Lance Fountain via AP]
  3. Rays rally twice to beat Rangers (w/video)

    The Heater

    ARLINGTON, Texas — Starting Erasmo Ramirez on Monday after he closed out Sunday's marathon win turned out, despite the Rays' best intentions and rigid insistence, to be a bad idea as he gave up four runs without getting through three innings.

    Erasmo Ramirez, starting a day after closing a 15-inning marathon, struggles against the Rangers and comes out after throwing 43 pitches in 21/3 innings.
  4. Britain investigating missed signals over Manchester bomber

    World

    LONDON — Britain's domestic intelligence agency, MI5, is investigating its response to warnings from the public about the threat posed by Salman Abedi, the suicide bomber who killed 22 people and wounded dozens more in an attack at a crowded Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England, last week.

    People gather Monday at St. Ann’s Square in Manchester, England, to view tributes to victims of the suicide bombing that killed 22 on May 22 as a concert by Ariana Grande was concluding.
  5. Trump condemns killing of pair who tried to stop racist rant

    Nation

    The mayor of Portland, Ore., on Monday urged U.S. officials and organizers to cancel a "Trump Free Speech Rally" and other similar events, saying they are inappropriate and could be dangerous after two men were stabbed to death on a train as they tried to help a pair of young women targeted by an anti-Muslim tirade.

    Coco Douglas, 8, leaves a handmade sign and rocks she painted at a memorial in Portland, Ore., on Saturday for two bystanders who were stabbed to death Friday while trying to stop a man who was yelling anti-Muslim slurs and acting aggressively toward two young women. From left are Coco's brother, Desmond Douglas; her father, Christopher Douglas; and her stepmother, Angel Sauls. [Associated Press]