News


DATE=2/19/98
TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
NUMBER=2-226973
TITLE=KOREA/ OVERTURE (L-ONLY)
BYLINE=KATE WILTROUT
DATELINE=SEOUL
CONTENT=
VOICED AT: 

 INTRO:  WITH LESS THAN A WEEK BEFORE PRESIDENT-ELECT KIM 
DAE-JUNG TAKES OFFICE  IN SOUTH KOREA, NORTH KOREA APPEARS TO BE 
WARMING UP TOWARD THE INCOMING  ADMINISTRATION.  KATE WILTROUT 
REPORTS FROM SEOUL THAT NORTH KOREA HAS  EXPRESSED WILLINGNESS TO
HAVE DIALOGUE WITH SOUTH KOREA.

TEXT:  IN A REPORT CARRIED BY ITS OFFICIAL KOREAN CENTRAL NEWS 
AGENCY OR  K-C-N-A, PYONGYANG'S COMMUNIST GOVERNMENT DECLARED 
WEDNESDAY THAT IT IS  READY TO END AN ERA OF CONFRONTATION WITH 
ITS SOUTHERN RIVAL. 

THE K-C-N-A REPORT QUOTED KIM YONG SUN, A TOP NORTH KOREAN POLICY
MAKER,  AS TELLING A JOINT MEETING OF POLITICAL PARTIES AND 
ORGANIZATIONS IN  PYONGYANG, THAT THE NORTH IS WILLING TO HAVE 
DIALOGUE AND NEGOTIATION  WITH ANYONE IN SOUTH KOREA.  HE WAS 
ALSO QUOTED AS SAYING THAT THE TWO  COUNTRIES MUST PROMOTE 
CO-EXISTENCE, CO-PROSPERITY AND COMMON  INTERESTS.

ON THURSDAY, A MESSAGE ADOPTED AT THAT MEETING WAS DELIVERED TO A
SOUTH  KOREAN RED CROSS REPRESENTATIVE, THROUGH THE TRUCE VILLAGE
OF PANMUNJOM,  IN THE DEMILITARIZED ZONE.

THE STATEMENT COULD SIGNAL A CHANGE OF POLICY IN NORTH KOREA, 
WHICH HAS  REPEATEDLY REFUSED TO NEGOTIATE DIRECTLY WITH THE 
SOUTH KOREAN  GOVERNMENT, CALLING IT A PUPPET OF THE UNITED 
STATES. PRESIDENT-ELECT  KIM DAE JUNG'S POLITICAL PARTY WELCOMED 
THE NORTH KOREAN MOVE, SAYING IT IS "A  SIGN OF CHANGE IN THE 
NORTH'S ATTITUDE." 

CHOI JINWOOK IS AN ANALYST AT THE KOREA INSTITUTE FOR NATIONAL  
REUNIFICATION. HE SAYS THAT THE K-C-N-A REPORT, WHICH FOLLOWS 
RECENT  ANNOUNCEMENTS THAT BOTH NORTH AND SOUTH KOREA WILL WORK 
TO REUNITE  SEPARATED FAMILIES, SHOWS THAT RELATIONS BETWEEN THE 
TWO ENEMIES MAY BE  THAWING.

BUT OFFICIALS AT SOUTH KOREA'S MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND 
MINISTRY OF NATIONAL UNIFICATION ARE EXPRESSING CAUTION ABOUT THE
NORTH KOREAN  OFFICIAL'S REMARKS.  THEY POINT TO THE CONDITIONS 
ATTACHED TO THE OFFER. THE  NORTH MADE IT CLEAR THAT NO 
RECONCILIATION COULD BE EXPECTED WHILE SOUTH  KOREA REMAINED 
DEPENDENT ON "FOREIGN FORCES" --  A REFERENCE TO THE  37-THOUSAND
U-S TROOPS STATIONED IN THE COUNTRY.  NORTH KOREA ALSO REPEATED  
DEMANDS THAT THE SOUTH KOREAN INTELLIGENCE AGENCY BE DISBANDED, 
AND SEOUL'S TOUGH NATIONAL SECURITY LAWS BE REVOKED.

KIM YOUNG-MIN, A DEPUTY SPOKESMAN AT THE MINISTRY OF NATIONAL  
UNIFICATION IN SEOUL, SAYS THE K-C-N-A REPORT DOES NOT SEEM TO 
REPRESENT  A CHANGE IN NORTH KOREAN POLICY.  HE ADDED  IT IS TOO 
EARLY TO MAKE ANY  PREDICTIONS ABOUT THE FUTURE.  

THE SPOKESMAN FOR SOUTH KOREA'S MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS SAID 
NORTH KOREA HAS MADE SIMILAR ANNOUNCEMENTS IN  THE PAST AND THE 
LATEST IS JUST A REPETITION OF WHAT THEY PROPOSED LAST  YEAR.  
(SIGNED)

NEB/KW/FC/WFR

19-Feb-98 4:38 AM EST (0938 UTC)
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Source: Voice of America
.