News



DATE=4/7/98
TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
NUMBER=2-229307
TITLE=KOREA / TALKS (L-ONLY)
BYLINE=JOHN LARKIN
DATELINE=SEOUL
CONTENT=
VOICED AT:  

INTRO:  THE CHOICE OF WHERE TO MEET REMAINS THE ONLY OBSTACLE TO 
THE FIRST GOVERNMENT-TO-GOVERNMENT TALKS IN FOUR YEARS BETWEEN 
THE RIVAL STATES OF NORTH AND SOUTH KOREA.  JOHN LARKIN REPORTS 
FROM SEOUL, NORTH KOREA IS INSISTING THE TALKS BE HELD IN 
BEIJING.

TEXT:  SOUTH-KOREAN MEDIA REPORTS SAY OFFICIALS INDICATE THEY 
WILL BOW TO THE NORTH'S INSISTENCE ON BEIJING AS THE VENUE FOR 
TALKS, BECAUSE THEY ARE ANXIOUS NOT TO DERAIL A PROMISING 
DEVELOPMENT IN BILATERAL RELATIONS.

THE NEWS REPORTS SAY OFFICIALS MAINTAIN FUTURE MEETINGS BE HELD 
ON THE KOREAN PENINSULA.  SEOUL USUALLY PREFERS THE TRUCE VILLAGE
OF PANMUNJOM FOR IMPORTANT TALKS.

A SURPRISE OVERTURE BY COMMUNIST NORTH KOREA HAS PAVED THE WAY 
FOR THE MEETING, EXPECTED THIS SATURDAY.  THE NORTH SUGGESTED 
DISCUSSIONS ON FAMINE RELIEF AND RELATED ISSUES.  SOUTH KOREA'S 
PRESIDENT KIM DAE-JUNG IMMEDIATELY ACCEPTED THE INVITATION, BUT 
FOR THE MOMENT HIS GOVERNMENT IS MAINTAINING ITS PUBLIC 
INSISTENCE ON A KOREAN VENUE.

HOPES OF AN EMERGING THAW IN THE TRADITIONAL HOSTILITY BETWEEN 
THE TWO KOREAS WERE AGAIN RAISED (TUESDAY) WITH INDICATIONS THE 
NORTH MAY ACCEPT A SOUTH KOREAN PROPOSAL FOR AN EXCHANGE OF 
SPECIAL ENVOYS.

A SEMI-OFFICIAL SOUTH-KOREAN PRESS AGENCY QUOTED A SENIOR 
COMMUNIST OFFICIAL TELLING A POLITICAL RALLY MONDAY, THAT 
PYONGYANG WAS INTERESTED IN RE-OPENING OFFICIAL DIALOGUE.

THE PROPOSAL FOR AN EXCHANGE OF SPECIAL ENVOYS IS PART OF 
PRESIDENT KIM DAE-JUNG'S SO-CALLED SUNSHINE POLICY ON NORTH 
KOREA, WHICH EMPHASIZES CONCILIATION OVER ANTAGONISM.

ONE OF THE POLICY'S CRUCIAL PLANKS IS THE REUNION OF MILLIONS OF 
FAMILIES DIVIDED 45-YEARS AGO BY THE KOREAN WAR.  SOUTH KOREA IS 
LIKELY TO USE SATURDAY'S SCHEDULED MEETING TO PUSH FOR PROGRESS 
ON RE-UNITING SEPARATED FAMILY MEMBERS.   (SIGNED)

NEB/JL/FC/RAE

07-Apr-98 5:19 AM EDT (0919 UTC)
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Source: Voice of America
.