No one is surprised that the talks just beginning between the two Koreas have broken down; reopening seems unlikely. It was reported that military leaders, mid-range officials from North Korea and South Korea were meeting within the demilitarized zone in an edifice called Peace House in the hope that differences could be resolved. The talks had just begun; early discussion had revolved around agenda and procedures.
We recall escalating tensions leading up to these meetings, including North Korea’s torpedoing and sinking the South Korean Navy corvette Cheonan, as it sailed in the Yellow Sea, protecting crab fishermen. The sinking took the lives of 46 of Cheonan’s crew.
Tensions further escalated with the December 20th, 2010, shelling of Yeonpyeong Island by North Korea. The residential Island, west of the Korean Peninsula, in the Yellow Sea, was home to some 1500 peaceful residents; four were killed, and at least eighteen injured in the hour-long rain of fire. Both these warlike acts occurred under the leadership of North Korean president Kim Jong ll. Latest information suggests that the President’s son, 28 year old Kim Jong un, being groomed to succeed his father at some later date, was behind the attacks.
Sixty-eight-year-old North Korean President Kim Jong ll called the attack on Yeonpyeong Island a response to a sinister calculation on the part of South Korea, in concert with the United States, to provoke the North by establishing that the west could indeed conduct inflammatory military exercises south of the 38th Parallel with the intent to establish a tacit recognition of that 38th Parallel armistice line, the line of demarcation.
The talks have failed, the figures have left. Some suggest that the hoped-for negotiations came at the urging or insistence of neighboring China, and may have been doomed from the onset. South Korea declared their participation to be contingent on apologies from the North Koreans for the incidents cited. North Korea responded to this demand by walking out of the talks. At this point, no further discussion is anticipated.
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