News


DATE=3/20/98
TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
NUMBER=2-228451
TITLE=KOREAN TALKS (L-ONLY)
  BYLINE=LISA SCHLEIN
DATELINE=GENEVA
CONTENT=
VOICED AT: 

INTRO:  NEGOTIATION NOW UNDERWAY IN GENEVA AIMED AT ACHIEVING A 
PERMANENT PEACE IN THE KOREAN PENINSULA REPORTEDLY HAVE RUN INTO 
TROUBLE.  LISA SCHLEIN REPORTS, HOWEVER, THAT EFFORTS ARE BEING 
MADE TO GET THE TALKS BACK ON TRACK.

TEXT:  THE CHINESE CHAIRMAN OF THE NEGOTIATIONS, CHEN JIAN, TOLD 
JOURNALISTS THAT THE PEACE TALKS BETWEEN NORTH AND SOUTH KOREA 
HAVE RUN INTO "SERIOUS DIFFICULTIES."  HE WOULDN'T GIVE DETAILS 
REGARDING THE PROBLEMS.  BUT, HE SAID THE DIFFICULTIES WERE 
REPORTED BY BOTH THE NORTH AND SOUTH KOREAN SIDES.

A SOUTH KOREAN NEGOTIATOR DESCRIBED THE DISPUTE AS A BIG, 
COMPLICATED ISSUE.  THIS WAS ECHOED BY HIS NORTH KOREAN 
COUNTERPART WHO TOLD KOREAN JOURNALISTS THAT THE ISSUES WEREN'T 
EASY BECAUSE OF THE ANTAGONISM WHICH EXISTED BETWEEN BOTH 
PARTIES.

OBSERVERS HERE SPECULATE THAT THE DIFFICULTIES HAVE TO DO WITH 
NORTH KOREA'S INSISTENCE THAT THE UNITED STATES WITHDRAWAL OF 
37-THOUSAND TROOPS FROM SOUTH KOREA FIGURE HIGH ON THE AGENDA.

WHILE  NOT  CONFIRMING THIS, A U-S OFFICIAL DID SAY THAT THIS 
ISSUE WAS A MAJOR STICKING POINT IN THE NEGOTIATIONS.  BOTH THE 
AMERICANS AND SOUTH KOREANS CONSIDER A DISCUSSION OF TROOP 
WITHDRAWALS TO BE PREMATURE AT THIS STAGE IN THE NEGOTIATIONS.  
THE U-S OFFICIAL SAID DISCUSSION OF THIS ISSUE NOW WOULD PREJUDGE
THE OUTCOME OF THE TALKS -- AND THAT WOULD BE UNACCEPTABLE.

THE MAIN AIM OF THESE TALKS IS TO ACHIEVE A PERMANENT PEACE 
AGREEMENT TO REPLACE THE ARMISTICE THAT ENDED THE KOREAN WAR IN 
1953.  UNTIL THAT IS DONE, THE NORTH AND SOUTH TECHNICALLY REMAIN
AT WAR.

THE AMERICANS AND SOUTH KOREANS HAVE BEEN TRYING TO FOCUS THE 
NEGOTIATIONS ON MOVING AHEAD WITH A SERIES OF CONFIDENCE BUILDING
MEASURES.  THEY BELIEVE TENSIONS IN THE KOREAN PENINSULA WOULD 
EASE IF BOTH SIDES WOULD AGREE TO MEASURES SUCH AS THE ADVANCE 
NOTIFICATION OF MILITARY MANEUVERS.

DURING THIS MEETING, THEY HAD HOPED TO ESTABLISH A SUBCOMMITTEE 
WHICH COULD DEAL WITH SOME OF THE PARTIES MAJOR CONCERNS.  NO 
PROGRESS HAS BEEN REPORTED ON THIS SCORE.

THIS ROUND OF TALKS WAS DUE TO WIND UP FRIDAY WITH AN AGREEMENT 
TO MEET AGAIN.  UNLESS THE DEADLOCK IS BROKEN, EVEN THIS SLIM 
MOVEMENT FORWARD REMAINS IN DOUBT (SIGNED) 

NEB/L/PCFS

20-Mar-98 9:13 AM EST (1413 UTC)
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Source: Voice of America
.