News

Voice of America 4/21/97

KOREA TALKS/ FOOD AID

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

INTRO:  TALKS IN NEW YORK BETWEEN 
NORTH KOREA, SOUTH KOREA AND 
THE UNITED STATES ARE FACING FURTHER 
DELAYS, CAUSED BY NORTH KOREA'S EFFORTS 
TO LINK POLITICAL ISSUES WITH ITS REQUESTS 
FOR EMERGENCY FOOD AID.  V-O-A'S MAX 
RUSTON REPORTS FROM NEW YORK.

TEXT:  STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESMAN 
NICHOLAS BURNS SAYS U-S AND SOUTH KOREAN 
NEGOTIATORS WANT THE NEW YORK MEETINGS 
TO FOCUS ON A PROPOSAL FOR TALKS ON A 
NEW PEACE ARRANGEMENT FOR THE KOREAN 
PENINSULA.  BUT HE SAYS NORTH KOREA HAS 
REPEATEDLY TRIED TO LINK THAT ISSUE WITH 
ITS REQUESTS FOR EMERGENCY FOOD AID -- A 
CONNECTION THE U-S SIDE REFUSES TO ACCEPT.

MR. BURNS SAYS WASHINGTON IS ALREADY 
LEADING INTERNATIONAL EFFORTS TO SEND 
FOOD AID TO THE NORTH, AND CONSIDERS ITS 
OWN PLEDGE OF 25 MILLION DOLLARS IN AID 
TO BE VERY GENEROUS.

          /// BURNS ACT ///

IF THE NORTH KOREANS COME TO NEW 
YORK AND REJECT THE FOUR PARTY PEACE 
TALKS, WE WILL GO FORWARD WITH OUR FOOD
AID.  IT IS NOT LINKED IN OUR MIND.  WE HAVE 
NOT TOLD THE NORTH KOREANS THEY HAVE 
TO AGREE TO FOUR PARTY TALKS IF THEY WANT 
FOOD AID.  WE HAVE NOT SAID THAT.

        /// END ACT ///

NORTH KOREA HAS EXPERIENCED A SEVERE 
FOOD SHORTAGE OVER THE LAST YEAR. 
EXPERTS SAY IT FACES A THREAT OF FAMINE 
OVER THE NEXT FEW MONTHS IF IT IS NOT 
GIVEN ASSISTANCE FROM THE INTERNATIONAL 
COMMUNITY.

BUT U-S MILITARY LEADERS SAY THEY 
ARE CONCERNED ABOUT GIVING AID TO 
NORTH KOREA BECAUSE OF ITS THREAT
TO THE SECURITY OF SOUTH KOREA AND 
THE ASIA PACIFIC REGION.  THOSE CONCERNS
INCREASED OVER THE WEEKEND WITH THE 
ARRIVAL IN SEOUL OF A SENIOR NORTH KOREAN 
OFFICIAL, HWANG JANG YOP, WHO DEFECTED
FROM NORTH KOREA TWO MONTHS AGO 
WHILE VISITING CHINA.

MR. HWANG SAID THE PEOPLE OF NORTH 
KOREA HAVE LOST HOPE AND THAT THE 
GOVERNMENT THERE SEEMS INTENT ON 
WAGING A WAR AGAINST SOUTH KOREA.

STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESMAN NICHOLAS 
BURNS SAYS WASHINGTON IS PREPARED AND 
COMMITTED TO DEFENDING SOUTH KOREA 
AGAINST ANY ATTACK FROM THE NORTH.  BUT, 
MR. BURNS SAYS THE UNITED STATES REMAINS 
HOPEFUL TENSION CAN BE EASED THROUGH TALKS.

           /// BURNS ACT ///

DESPITE THE RHETORIC ONE SOMETIMES HEARS 
TOO OFTEN FROM PYONGYANG, AND DESPITE 
WHAT MR. HWANG HAS SAID, WE THINK
THAT ACTUALLY THE EVENTS SEEM TO INDICATE 
THE NORTH KOREANS AT LEAST ARE OPEN TO 
FURTHER TALK WITH THE UNITED STATES, SOUTH 
KOREA, JAPAN AND OTHER COUNTRIES IN
ASIA INTERESTED IN PEACE AND SECURITY 
ON THE KOREAN PENINSULA.

            /// END ACT ///

DIPLOMATS SAY THE STALLED MEETINGS IN
NEW YORK WOULD BE AN IMPORTANT FIRST 
STEP IN ESTABLISHING SUCH A DIALOG WITH 
NORTH KOREA.  THOSE MEETINGS ARE AIMED 
AT ARRANGING PEACE TALKS INVOLVING 
NORTH KOREA, SOUTH KOREA, THE UNITED
STATES AND CHINA. THE TALKS, IF NORTH 
KOREA AGREES TO THEM, WOULD FOCUS ON 
ESTABLISHING A PEACE TREATY TO REPLACE
THE 1953 ARMISTICE THAT ENDED FIGHTING 
IN THE KOREAN WAR.  (SIGNED)

NEB/NY/MPR/LSF/LWM 

21-Apr-97 4:58 PM EDT (2058 UTC)
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