SEOUL, South Korea – The foreign ministers of North and South Korea met briefly today on the sidelines of a regional security meeting in Indonesia, a day after discussions between nuclear negotiators for the two countries raised hopes of a breakthrough in stalled disarmament talks.
South Korea’s Kim Sung-hwan and the North’s Pak Ui Chun walked together and chatted this morning on the Indonesian island of Bali, the site of the ASEAN Regional Forum meeting.
It was the first meeting between foreign ministers of the two countries since July 2008 when the same forum was held in Singapore, according to South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency.
The meeting followed one held Friday between the nuclear negotiators for the two countries. That breakthrough raised hopes that stalled six-nation negotiations on the North’s nuclear programs, last held in December 2008, could possibly restart and that tense relations between the rival nations could ease.
Kim and Pak discussed the talks held by the nuclear negotiators, Yonhap reported, without identifying the source of the information.
Inter-Korean relations have been fraught since South Korean President Lee Myung-bak took office in February 2008 with a vow to take a tougher approach toward North Korea, a stance Pyongyang has rejected as confrontational and aimed at destabilizing its government.