See More on Facebook

Diplomacy

A history of high level talks between North and South Korea

The return of South Korean envoys from Pyongyang is just the latest attempt at direct diplomacy between the estranged neighbours.


Written by

Updated: March 7, 2018

Little has been said about the visit, however, a high-level South Korean official stated that the envoys’ meeting with Kim had “produced results,” according to the Korea Herald.

It is not the first time that talks between the two Koreas have happened.

1971 – The two Koreas hold their first Red Cross talks, with the Red Cross societies on either side of the border working together to help reunite families torn apart by the conflict.

1972 – The South Korean government under then President Park Chung-hee carries out secret negotiations with the North. In July 1972, the two Koreas release a historic joint statement laying out the principles for reunification. The thaw in relations is short-lived, with the North suspending talks the following year.

1984 – Contact between the Koreas resumes with the North extending an olive branch in the form of aid for victims of severe floods in South Korea. The development came after a period of heightened tension the previous year over the Rangoon bombing, which targeted South Korean President Chun Doo Hwan. Talks between the Koreas follow, paving the way for the first family reunion between the two sides September 1985. However, these promising developments yield no lasting results, with relations growing cold in 1986 after the US and South Korean hold their annual joint military exercise, Team Spirit.

1990s – In September, the Koreas hold high-level talks in Seoul as a result of efforts by South Korean President Roh Tae-woo to improve ties. In the years that follow, the nations take two promising steps towards normalising ties, signing the Agreement on Reconciliation, Non-Aggression, Exchanges and Cooperation in 1991 and the Declaration on the Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula in 1992.

Despite the developments, concern soon begins to mount about North Korea’s nuclear programme. Tensions increase in 1993, when the nation expresses its desire to withdraw from the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. A series of talks with the US results in The Agreed Framework of 1994, which prevents North Korea from continuing work on its suspected weapons programme in exchange for fuel and two proliferation-resistant nuclear reactors.

2000 – South Korean President Kim Dae-jung’s “sunshine policy,” unveiled in 1998, leads to the first inter-Korean summit, held in June 2000. The gestures of goodwill continue with a second family reunion in August, and the two Koreas march under a unification flag at the Sydney Olympics.

2003 –  The Six-Party Talks, which involve South Korea, Japan, Russia, China and the US, are held for the first time to resolve the nuclear issue. The talks continue over the years but fail to put an end to North Korea’s nuclear programme.

2018 – The first inter-Korean talks in two years are held in Panmunjeom. It is decided that the North will participate in the Winter Olympics.



Enjoyed this story? Share it.


Nadia Chevroulet
About the Author: Nadia is an Associate Editor at Asia News Network.

Eastern Briefings

All you need to know about Asia


Our Eastern Briefings Newsletter presents curated stories from 22 Asian newspapers from South, Southeast and Northeast Asia.

Sign up and stay updated with the latest news.



By providing us with your email address, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

View Today's Newsletter Here

Diplomacy

Brexit deal refusal to have limited impact on Korean economy

Seoul vows to speed up efforts for Korea-Britain bilateral trade deal, bracing for post-Brexit era. The British parliament’s latest rejection of the government’s proposed Brexit deal is likely to have a limited impact on global financial markets as well as the South Korean economy, Seoul’s government said Wednesday. Vowing pre-emptive steps to counter a possible fallout, Korean authorities will work on preparations for a bilateral free trade deal with Britain, as the latter will no longer be subject to the Korea-EU Free Trade Agreement upon Brexit. “The vote to reject the Brexit deal was seen to have a limited impact on global financial ma


By The Korea Herald
January 17, 2019

Diplomacy

Beijing rebukes French, German ambassadors

Beijing says award for Chinese lawyer is politically motivated. Beijing on Wednesday slammed the French and German ambassadors to China after they granted a human rights award to a detained Chinese lawyer, saying their wrongdoing gravely violated China’s internal affairs. The Foreign Ministry said in a statement that China has lodged stern representations and expressed strong dissatisfaction, as well as firm opposition, to the ambassadors’ action. The relevant case is purely judicial, which has nothing to do with human rights, the ministry said. The wrongdoings of Germany and France gravely interfered with China’s internal affairs and judicial sovereignty, the ministry said. China urges the ambassadors of relevant countries to do more to develop bilateral relations and enhance political mutual trust, not the opposite, it added. The lawyer, Yu Wensheng, was detained


By China Daily
January 17, 2019

Diplomacy

Singapore-Malaysia relations still ‘good’, says Malaysian Foreign Minister

Ties between Malaysia and Singapore are still “good” despite ongoing air and maritime disputes between the two countries. “Our relations with Singapore remain good. There are some issues but we are talking to each other, and that is very important,” said Malaysian Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah on Wednesday (Jan 16), “Most importantly, the discussions are going on. I am confident the discussions are moving in the right direction.” He said five senior government officials will meet with their Singaporean counterparts to discuss ongoing issues. Besides Mr Saifuddin, the others are Transport Minister Anthony Loke, Economic Affairs Minister Azmin Ali, Attorney-General Tommy Thomas and Foreign Ministry secretary-general Muhammad Shahrul Ikram Yaakob. Both Singapore and Malaysia are currently locked in two separate disputes – over 


By The Straits Times
January 17, 2019

Diplomacy

Bangkok grapple with shortage of masks as smog smothers city

The Thai government is trying to resolve a dangerous air pollution problem in Bangkok, by seeding clouds to produce rain and using water cannons to clean streets and the air. After spending several days choking on high levels of fine particle dust, many Bangkok residents have opted for masks to protect themselves. But some were unable to find the N95-grade face masks required and are calling for the authorities to cover the shortage. Meanwhile, an online poll conducted by The Standard online magazine among 2,200 residents on Monday (Jan 14) and Tuesday revealed that 50.3 per cent wore masks to protect themselves, while the remainder complained they could not find one.


By The Nation (Thailand)
January 17, 2019

Diplomacy

China accuses Canada of double standard

Beijing slams Justin Trudeau’s criticism of drug smuggler’s death sentence. China on Tuesday expressed strong dissatisfaction at the Canadian prime minister’s criticism of a drug smuggler’s death sentence, urging the country to respect China’s judicial sovereignty and stop making irresponsible remarks. Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a daily news briefing that drug crimes are recognized worldwide as serious crimes and are extremely harmful to the society. She said all countries severely crack down on the issue and so does China. Remarks made by a “relevant Canadian person” lack the spirit of rule by law, she said, urging the Canadian side to correct the mistakes and stop making irresponsible remarks. Robert Lloyd Schellenberg, a Canadian national convicted of smuggling over 222 kilograms of methamphetamines, was sentenced to death on Monday at


By China Daily
January 16, 2019

Diplomacy

South Korean defense paper doesn’t label north an enemy

Ministry also says the north has specialized battalion for assassination of key figures. The Defense Ministry does not directly refer to North Korea as an enemy and takes a less hostile tone toward the communist state in its 23rd white paper published Tuesday. The ministry’s latest biennial white paper — the first to be published since the Moon Jae-in administration came to power in 2017 — addresses security threats, military policies and the regional security environment. Perhaps most notably, the Defense Ministry eliminated the phrase specifically describing North Korea as South Korea’s “enemy,” a move that appears to reflect


By The Korea Herald
January 16, 2019