In the News – S. Korean, Russian envoys to discuss N. Korea’s nuclear programs


In the News – S. Korean, Russian envoys to discuss N. Korea’s nuclear programs

SEOUL, June 25 (Yonhap) — Senior South Korean and Russian diplomats will hold one-day talks this week in Seoul to discuss possible ways to revive the long-stalled six-party talks on North Korea’s nuclear weapons programs, a Seoul official said Monday.

Russia’s deputy chief envoy to the six-party talks, Grigory Logvinov, was scheduled to arrive in Seoul later Monday for a three-day visit and hold talks with South Korea’s top nuclear envoy Lim Sung-nam on Tuesday, the senior official at Seoul’s foreign ministry said.

“During the talks, Ambassador Logvinov and Lim plan to hold in-depth discussions about North Korea’s nuclear issue and other overall matters with regard to North Korea,” the official said on the condition of anonymity.

They will also discuss “the current state of the Korean Peninsula after North Korea’s failed rocket launch and ways to move forward on the North’s nuclear issue,” the official said.

The visit by Logvinov to Seoul also coincides with the Russian government’s move to write off 90 percent of North Korea’s Soviet-era debt of US$11 billion.

Diplomatic efforts to resume the six-party talks, involving the two Koreas, the U.S., China, Russia and Japan, were frozen in April when North Korea defiantly launched a long-range rocket.

The North’s failed launch ended a possible deal with the U.S. in which Pyongyang agreed to suspend its nuclear and missile activities in return for food aid by Washington. Such conditions had been considered necessary steps to reopen the six-party talks.

The six-party talks aimed at persuading North Korea to give up its nuclear ambition have been stalled since late 2008. Pyongyang has conducted two nuclear tests, in 2006 and 2009.

In Seoul, the Russian envoy is also expected to discuss an ambitious plan to build a natural-gas pipeline from Russia to South Korea via North Korea, the ministry official said.

The gas project, which has been discussed for about 20 years but never has materialized due in part to security tensions, gained momentum after late North Korean leader Kim Jong-il expressed his willingness to permit the envisioned pipeline to go through the nation during summit talks with then-Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in August last year.

Kim died of a heart attack last December, and his youngest son, Jong-un, took the helm of North Korea.


Original article can be found here.

In the News – (Nuclear summit) N. Korea loses more than gains from rocket gambit


In the News – (Nuclear summit) N. Korea loses more than gains from rocket gambit

By Chang Jae-soon
SEOUL, March 27 (Yonhap) — When North Korea caught the world off guard with a surprise rocket launch announcement just 10 days before world leaders gathered in Seoul for an anti-nuclear terrorism conference, the communist nation might have thought it succeeded in snatching the international spotlight from the rival South.

But the timing was not a good idea after all.

Analysts say Pyongyang lost more than it gained from choosing to make the rocket announcement shortly prior to the Nuclear Security Summit, handing South Korea an easy chance to make its case and drum up global criticism of the provocative regime with little effort. Continue reading

In the News – Lee vows to retaliate against N. Korea if provoked


In the News – Lee vows to retaliate against N. Korea if provoked

SEOUL, March 26 (Yonhap) — President Lee Myung-bak said Monday that South Korea will thoroughly retaliate against North Korea if provoked again, amid rising tensions over Pyongyang’s plan to launch a long-range rocket in defiance of international warnings.

North Korea has recently threatened to launch a “sacred war” against South Korea over Seoul’s defamation of the dignity of its new leader Kim Jong-un and his late father, Kim Jong-il.

The communist country has also warned it will take the “strongest countermeasures which no one can imagine” if South Korea “dares find fault with its nuclear deterrent and satellite launch” at an international nuclear summit under way in Seoul.

South Korea will “thoroughly retaliate against North Korea” if Pyongyang provokes it, Lee said in a video message to a music concert in Seoul marking the second anniversary of the deadly sinking of a South Korean warship blamed on the North. Continue reading