News

Voice of America 4/16/97

KOREA TALKS / FIRST DAY

BYLINE=MAX RUSTON
DATELINE=NEW YORK
CONTENT=
VOICED AT: 

INTRO:  OFFICIALS FROM NORTH KOREA, SOUTH 
KOREA AND THE UNITED STATES -- MEETING 
TODAY (WEDNESDAY) IN NEW YORK -- HAVE 
AGREED TO HOLD A SECOND DAY OF MEETINGS 
ON A PROPOSAL FOR TALKS ABOUT A NEW
PEACE AGREEMENT FOR THE KOREAN PENINSULA.
 V-O-A'S MAX RUSTON REPORTS FROM NEW YORK.

TEXT:  AT THE END OF THE FULL-DAY TALKS, 
NEGOTIATORS FROM THE THREE COUNTRIES 
GAVE BRIEF, AND ALMOST IDENTICAL STATEMENTS 
ABOUT THEIR DISCUSSIONS.  THEY EACH SPOKE OF 
ENCOURAGING PROGRESS TOWARDS REACHING 
AGREEMENT ON A PROPOSAL FOR FOUR-PARTY 
TALKS (EDS: INCLUDE CHINA) ON A PERMANENT 
PEACE ARRANGEMENT TO REPLACE THE 1953
ARMISTICE THAT ENDED THE KOREAN WAR.

THE U-S NEGOTIATOR -- DEPUTY ASSISTANT 
SECRETARY OF STATE CHARLES KARTMAN -- 
SAID MORE DISCUSSIONS ARE NEEDED ON 
WHAT HE CALLED THE AGENDA AND OTHER 
DETAILS.

                       /// KARTMAN ACT ///

WE MADE SOME ENCOURAGING PROGRESS, BUT 
THERE IS STILL MORE TO BE DONE.  WE ARE
GOING TO MEET AGAIN FRIDAY TO SEE IF WE 
CANNOT CONTINUE THESE DISCUSSIONS AND 
ACHIEVE WHAT WE SET OUT TO.

                         /// END ACT ///

THIS ROUND OF MEETINGS WAS CALLED AT 
NORTH KOREA'S REQUEST, IN RESPONSE TO A 
PROPOSAL FOR FOUR PARTY TALKS MADE A 
YEAR AGO BY SOUTH KOREA AND THE UNITED 
STATES.  IT ALSO COMES JUST OVER A MONTH
AFTER THE THREE SIDES HELD DAY-LONG 
TALKS IN NEW YORK TO DISCUSS DETAILS OF 
THE PROPOSAL.

AFTER THE CONCLUSION OF THESE LATEST TALKS, 
NORTH KOREA'S NEGOTIATOR, VICE FOREIGN 
MINISTER KIM GYE GWAN SPOKE TO REPORTERS
THROUGH AN INTERPRETER BUT DECLINED TO 
COMMENT ON THE CONTENT OF THE DISCUSSIONS.

                   /// KIM INTERPRETER ACT ///

FOR NOW I CAN SAY THAT DURING OUR TALKS
THERE HAS BEEN ENCOURAGING PROGRESS.

                         /// END ACT ///

SOUTH KOREA'S REPRESENTATIVE, DEPUTY 
MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS, SONG YOUNG 
SHIK, SAID ISSUES CONCERNING NORTH KOREA'S 
FOOD SHORTAGE WERE DISCUSSED.  HE SAID HE 
EXPECTS TALKS ABOUT FOOD AID TO THE NORTH 
TO CONTINUE ON FRIDAY -- AN INDICATION THAT
MAY BE ONE ISSUE NEGOTIATORS HAD TROUBLE 
REACHING AGREEMENT ON.

                        /// SONG ACT ///

WELL FOOD ISSUE HAS BEEN RAISED DURING THE 
COURSE OF THE MEETING.

                         /// END ACT ///

NORTH KOREA IS REPORTED TO HAVE MADE 
FOOD AID A PRECONDITION FOR AGREEING TO
THE PROPOSAL FOR FOUR-PARTY TALKS.  
NORTH KOREA IS FACING A THREAT OF FAMINE 
FOLLOWING A SEVERE FOOD SHORTAGE OVER 
THE LAST YEAR.  UNITED NATIONS OFFICIALS 
HAVE ALREADY BEGUN REPORTING DEATHS IN 
THAT COUNTRY AS A RESULT OF MALNUTRITION.

SOUTH KOREA AND THE UNITED STATES HAVE 
BOTH ANNOUNCED PLANS TO PROVIDE FOOD AID 
TO THE NORTH.  BUT DIPLOMATS SAY SEOUL AND 
WASHINGTON CONSIDER THE FOOD ISSUE AN 
EXTREMELY DIFFICULT ONE AS THEY ARE HESITANT 
TO SUPPLY AID TO A COUNTRY THAT CONTINUES TO 
BUILD UP ITS ABILITY TO WAGE WAR AGAINST ITS 
SOUTHERN NEIGHBOR.

SOUTH KOREAN OFFICIALS HAVE SAID THEY HOPE 
NORTH KOREA'S INCREASING NEED FOR AID WILL 
FORCE IT TO MAKE SOME CONCESSIONS TO EASE 
MILITARY TENSION ON THE PENINSULA.  BUT SOME 
WESTERN ANALYSTS SAY THERE ARE ALSO CONCERNS
THAT DETERIORATING FOOD AND POLITICAL 
CONDITIONS IN THE NORTH COULD PROMPT IT TO 
INITIATE A CONFLICT WITH THE SOUTH OUT OF 
DESPERATION.  (SIGNED)

NEB.NY/MPR/PT

16-Apr-97 9:00 PM EDT (0100 UTC)
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