SEOUL: With millions of North Koreans on the brink of starvation and South Korea's government being reshuffled, today's peace talks between the two Koreas couldn't come at a more critical time. United Nations relief teams report that North Korea's drought threatens a deadly famine on the scale seen recently in Ethiopia and Somalia. Meanwhile, South Korea's president today ousted half his cabinet, explaining the move as an effort to better manage economic policies and ensure fair presidential elections in December. Breakthroughs are not expected as North and South Korea sit down with China and the U.S. for talks, at Columbia University in New York, about lifting or easing economic sanctions against the North. TIME Seoul correspondent Stella Kim says that although the negotiations themselves and China's participation are a milestone, North Korea has withdrawn from talks at the last minute on three previous occasions.