North and South Korea recently held mid-level military talks focused on family unifications at the Peace Village on the 32nd Parallel in an attempt to get something non-kinetic moving between the divided peninsula’s governments.
Reuters quoted a unification ministry official in Seoul as saying that the talks had collapsed and that a date had not been set for the next meeting.
South Korean media reports that North Korea had refused Seoul’s demand to apologise for the shelling of Yeonpyeong island in November, and for the sinking of the Cheonan, a South Korean navy ship, last March.
North Korea says it was not involved in the Cheonan sinking, and that it was provoked into attacking Yeonpyeong after the South fired artillery rounds into its waters during a drill…
The North, concerned about the effects of international sanctions and a near-halt to trade with its neighbour, has recently pushed for talks between the Red Cross agencies on the resumption of meetings between separated families.
“We conveyed our agreement to hold the Red Cross talks,” said Lee Jong-joo, a spokeswoman for South Korea’s unification ministry. “The government shared the view on the urgency and importance of humanitarian issues, including the reunions of separated families.”
The issue just wasn’t urgent enough to include such humanitarian issues as the grief of families of 46 South Korean sailors killed aboard the Cheonan.
Really, you have to blame the south for this: If they had only talked about the things that the north wanted to talk about – easing sanctions, food aid, jobs at Kaesong, tourism, etc – things would have worked out fine. But no, the south had to go and bring ship sinkings and island shellings into the picture.