News


DATE=3/18/98
TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
NUMBER=2-228334
TITLE=KOREA TALKS (L)
BYLINE=LISA SCHLEIN
DATELINE=GENEVA
CONTENT=
VOICED AT: 

INTRO:  NORTH KOREAN SAYS IT IS WILLING TO HOLD DIRECT TALKS WITH
SOUTH KOREA ON A NUMBER OF BILATERAL ISSUES.  LISA SCHLEIN 
REPORTS NORTH KOREA'S CONFIRMATION CAME ON THE THIRD DAY OF 
FOUR-PARTY TALKS IN GENEVA AIMED AT ACHIEVING A PEACE SETTLEMENT 
IN THE KOREAN PENINSULA.

TEXT:  THE DEPUTY HEAD OF NORTH KOREA'S DELEGATION, LI GUN, SAYS 
BI-LATERAL TALKS WITH THE SOUTH WOULD BE SEPARATE FROM THE 
FOUR-PARTY PEACE TALKS TAKING PLACE HERE IN GENEVA.  HE SAYS 
NORTH KOREA WANTS THE NORTH-SOUTH TALKS TO TAKE PLACE ON THE 
KOREAN PENINSULA AND  NOT  ABROAD.

EARLIER, SOUTH KOREAN PRESIDENT KIM DAE-JUNG TOLD JOURNALISTS IN 
SEOUL THAT THE PURPOSE OF THE NORTH-SOUTH TALKS SHOULD BE ABOUT 
RECONCILIATION AND CO-OPERATIVE EXCHANGES,  NOT  ABOUT ACHIEVING 
A PEACE AGREEMENT.  THAT HE SAID WOULD BE DEALT WITH IN THE 
GENEVA TALKS.

NO  PROGRESS HAS BEEN REPORTED IN THIS SECOND ROUND OF TALKS.  
BUT OBSERVERS SAY NORTH KOREA'S WILLINGNESS TO ENGAGE IN A 
TWO-WAY DIALOGUE WITH ITS SOUTHERN NEIGHBOR SHOULD WARM THE 
ATMOSPHERE.

THE TALKS GOT OFF TO A ROCKY START ON MONDAY.  DISCUSSIONS WERE 
DELAYED FOR MORE THAN FIVE HOURS WHILE THE DELEGATES SORTED OUT A
DISPUTE ABOUT SEATING ARRANGEMENTS.  NORTH KOREA FINALLY GOT ITS 
WAY AND WAS ALLOWED TO SIT OPPOSITE THE AMERICAN DELEGATION 
INSTEAD OF FACING THE SOUTH KOREANS AS IT HAD DURING THE FIRST 
ROUND OF TALKS IN DECEMBER.

ALTHOUGH TWO DAYS OF PROCEDURAL WRANGLING HAVE FINALLY BEEN 
SORTED OUT, OBSERVERS SAY  NOT  MUCH OF SUBSTANCE HAS YET BEEN 
DISCUSSED.

THE CHINESE, WHO ARE CHAIRING THIS ROUND OF TALKS, REMAIN 
OPTIMISTIC DELEGATES WILL EVENTUALLY GET AROUND TO THE CENTRAL 
ISSUES.  IN AN EFFORT TO FOCUS THE NEGOTIATIONS ON THE MAIN 
POINTS OF THE AGENDA, THE CHINESE HAVE CALLED THE HEADS OF THE 
FOUR DELEGATIONS TOGETHER.  THEY ARE EXPECTED TO MEET IN CLOSED 
SESSION FOR MOST OF THE DAY, AFTER WHICH A GENERAL MEETING MAY BE
CALLED.

THE MAIN AIM OF THESE TALKS IS TO DRAW UP A PERMANENT PEACE 
TREATY TO REPLACE THE TRUCE WHICH ENDED THE KOREAN WAR IN 1953. 
UNTIL THAT IS DONE, THE TWO KOREAS REMAIN TECHNICALLY IN A STATE 
OF WAR.

A MAJOR STICKING POINT IS THE NORTH'S INSISTENCE THAT THE 
DISCUSSIONS INCLUDE THE WITHDRAWAL OF 37-THOUSAND AMERICAN TROOPS
FROM SOUTH KOREA.  THE UNITED STATES HAS REJECTED THIS DEMAND.

THIS ROUND OF TALKS IS SCHEDULED TO LAST FOR ONE WEEK.  BUT IT 
MAY END SOONER.  THE NEGOTIATORS PLAN TO HOLD REGULAR FOUR-PARTY 
TALKS AT THREE TO FOUR MONTH INTERVALS.  (SIGNED) 

NEB/LS/JWH

18-Mar-98 8:02 AM EST (1302 UTC)
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Source: Voice of America
.