Voice of America 3/5/97 KOREA TALKS
BYLINE=MAX RUSTON
DATELINE=NEW YORK
CONTENT=
VOICED AT:

INTRO: U-S OFFICIALS SAY TALKS TODAY (WEDNESDAY) IN NEW YORK BETWEEN THE UNITED STATES, NORTH KOREA AND SOUTH KOREA DID NOT RESULT IN ANY SPECIFIC AGREEMENTS ON EASING TENSION ON THE KOREAN PENINSULA. HOWEVER, V-O-A'S MAX RUSTON IN NEW YORK REPORTS THE TALKS ARE BEING DESCRIBED AS A STEP FORWARD IN ENGAGING NORTH KOREA IN A DIALOGUE ABOUT SECURITY ISSUES IN THE REGION.

TEXT: NORTH KOREA'S VICE MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS, KIM KYE GWAN, SPOKE BRIEFLY WITH REPORTERS AT THE CONCLUSION OF THE FIVE HOUR MEETING. SPEAKING THROUGH AN INTERPRETER, HE SAID HIS DELEGATION LISTENED TO A PROPOSAL FROM THE UNITED STATES AND SOUTH KOREA, BUT DID NOT ACCEPT OR REJECT IT.

// KIM INTERPRETER ACT //

WE ARE PREPARED TO LISTEN TO WHATEVER THE PROPOSALS -- THE PROPOSALS THAT ARE CONSIDERED AS BENEFICIAL TO PROMOTE PEACE AND STABILITY ON THE KOREAN PENINSULA. AS FOR THE CONTENT OF THE BRIEFING WE LISTENED TO TODAY, WE NEED FURTHER STUDY ON THIS PROPOSAL.

// END ACT //

MR. KIM WAS RESPONDING TO A PROPOSAL PUT FORWARD BY SEOUL AND WASHINGTON ALMOST A YEAR AGO. THEY PROPOSED THAT SOUTH KOREA, NORTH KOREA, THE UNITED STATES AND CHINA DISCUSS A PERMANENT PEACE ARRANGEMENT TO REPLACE THE 1953 ARMISTICE THAT ENDED FIGHTING IN THE KOREAN WAR. IN THE NEW YORK TALKS, HELD IN A HOTEL CONFERENCE ROOM, THE THREE SIDES TALKED ABOUT THE POSSIBILITY OF HOLDING TALKS ON THE PROPOSAL.

U-S OFFICIALS SAY THE TALKS TOOK PLACE IN A SERIOUS AND SINCERE ATMOSPHERE. U-S STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESMAN NICK BURNS SAYS HE BELIEVES NORTH KOREA WILL RESPOND POSITIVELY TO THE PROPOSAL FOR FORMAL TALKS ON A NEW PEACE ARRANGEMENT.

// BURNS ACT //

THEY (THE NORTH KOREANS) DID ASK SOME QUESTIONS. THEY HAD SOME QUESTIONS ABOUT THE NATURE OF THE PROPOSAL THAT WE HAD PUT TOGETHER, AND IN GENERAL WE BELIEVE THAT THE UNITED STATES AND SOUTH KOREA MADE A SINCERE AND FAIR PROPOSAL AND FRANKLY WE DO NOT SEE ANY REASON WHY THE NORTH KOREANS WILL NOT RESPOND TO IT POSITIVELY.

// END ACT //

U-S OFFICIALS SAY THEY DO NOT EXPECT AN IMMEDIATE RESPONSE FROM THE NORTH. THEY SAY THEY WILL WAIT AND BE PATIENT AS NORTH KOREAN LEADERS CONSIDER THE PROPOSAL.

SOUTH KOREA'S REPRESENTATIVE SAID HE USED THE TALKS TO STRESS THAT SOUTH AND NORTH KOREA MUST PLAY A LEADING ROLE IN ESTABLISHING A PERMANENT PEACE ON THE PENINSULA. NORTH KOREA HAS, IN THE PAST, RESISTED DIRECT TALKS WITH THE SOUTH, CALLING INSTEAD FOR A PEACE AGREEMENT WITH THE UNITED STATES, THAT WOULD RESULT IN THE WITHDRAWAL OF U-S TROOPS FROM THE PENINSULA. THE SOUTH KOREAN NEGOTIATOR SAID NORTH KOREA RESTATED ITS POSITION IN THE NEW YORK TALKS.

SOUTH KOREA AND THE UNITED STATES HAVE BEEN STRENGTHENING THEIR EFFORTS TO ENGAGE PYONGYANG IN A DIALOGUE AMID CONCERNS THAT SOCIAL, POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC CONDITIONS IN THE NORTH ARE DETERIORATING. THE NORTH IS FACING A SEVERE FOOD SHORTAGE, A SERIES OF HIGH LEVEL DEFECTIONS AND A REPORTED LACK OF SUPPORT FOR LEADER KIM JONG-IL.

WESTERN MILITARY ANALYSTS EXPRESS WORRY THAT A DETERIORATING SITUATION IN THE NORTH COULD PROMPT PYONGYANG -- OUT OF DESPERATION --TO TAKE HOSTILE ACTION AGAINST THE SOUTH. (SIGNED)

NEB/NY/MPR/CF

05-Mar-97 10:28 PM EST (0328 UTC)
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