SEOUL (Reuters) – Reclusive North Korea is preparing for a third generation of Kim family rule, with the young and inexperienced Kim Jong-un poised to take over from his father to run the autocratic state born out of the Cold War.
The 27 or 28-year-old Kim is taking the next big step to succeeding leader Kim Jong-il by visiting China, introducing himself to the destitute North’s main benefactor, possibly one of the most crucial diplomatic moves he will ever make, with South Korean media reporting he had crossed the border.
SEOUL (Reuters) – North Korea’s iron leader Kim Jong-il is looking healthier by the day after seeming to be at death’s door just over two years ago following a stroke, prompting speculation his rule may last longer than many had imagined.
Recently published images of the 69-year-old “Dear Leader” show him looking portly and pudgy-faced. That is a far cry from the sickly figure photographed in parliament in 2009 and the frail person holding on to a handrail at a military parade last year.
SEOUL (Reuters) – Washington will make an announcement within the next few days on sending an envoy to North Korea to assess the impoverished state’s pleas for food aid, a top U.S. official said on Tuesday, as it weighs helping Pyongyang against the South’s wishes.
Stephen Bosworth, the U.S. special representative for North Korea policy, met South Korean officials to discuss resumption of both food aid to the North and international nuclear talks.
SEOUL (Reuters) – South Korea’s telecom regulator plans to announce mobile tariff cuts in May as Asia’s fourth-largest economy struggles with inflationary pressures, a senior official told Reuters on Monday.
“We are in talks with carriers on tariff cut plans and we are aiming to announce the measures this month,” Shin Yong-sup, one of the five commissioners of the Korea Communications Commission (KCC), said at the Reuters Global Technology Summit.
SEOUL (Reuters) – Kim Hae-sook was only 13 years old when she was dragged off to a North Korea prison camp for nearly 30 years, punished along with the rest of her family simply because her grandfather fled to rival South Korea in the 1960s.
For most of that time, she was put to work in one of the state’s notoriously dangerous mines, working 16-18 hours a day.
SEOUL (Reuters) – South Korea’s main opposition party is fast closing the gap on the ruling conservatives, an opinion poll by a leading newspaper showed on Monday, as President Lee Myung-bak’s crisis-hit Grand National Party met to pick a new leadership.
Support for the left-of-centre Democratic Party lept to 32.1 from 22.2 percent a month earlier, compared to the GNP’s support level which fell to 37.5 percent from 38.4 percent, the poll conducted by the mainstream JoongAng Ilbo daily showed.
SEOUL (Reuters) – North Korean leader Kim Jong-il is willing to hold talks without preconditions on any issue, including direct talks with South Korea, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter said at the end of a trip to Pyongyang to try to defuse tensions on the divided peninsula.
“He specifically told us he is prepared to meet directly with (South Korean) President Lee Myung-bak any time,” Carter told a press conference in Seoul Thursday.
SEOUL (Reuters) – Reclusive North Korea has refused to make major concessions in talks with ex-U.S. President Jimmy Carter, insisting Washington provide some kind of security guarantee in return for giving up its nuclear weapons programme, the former leader said in a blog.
Carter and three other former state leaders — known as The Elders — were due to leave Pyongyang on Thursday after a “private” visit aimed at defusing tensions on the peninsula, as well as discussing the impoverished North’s pleas for food aid.
SEOUL (Reuters) – Ex-U.S. President Jimmy Carter and three other former state leaders arrived in Pyongyang on Tuesday, hoping to defuse tensions on the divided Korean peninsula and kick-start long-stalled nuclear talks.
The “Elders” delegation want to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong-il and his son and heir apparent Kim Jong-un to press for a resumption of dialogue between the two Koreas. They will also discuss ways to help alleviate the North’s food shortages.
SEOUL (Reuters) – Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter goes to North Korea this week to press it to show it is sincere about returning to aid-for-disarmament talks, but the chances of it giving up its nuclear programme appear more remote than ever.
The Nobel Peace prize winner will lead a delegation of former state leaders on a three-day visit to the secretive state where they will also discuss U.N. agencies’ appeals to provide food aid to the impoverished North.