News


DATE=4/8/98
TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
NUMBER=2-229362
TITLE=NORTH / SOUTH KOREAN TALKS (L-ONLY)
BYLINE=MIKE SNIDER
DATELINE=SEOUL
CONTENT=
VOICED AT: 

 INTRO:  SOUTH KOREA AGREED WEDNESDAY TO MEET NORTH KOREA IN 
BEIJING ON SATURDAY FOR OFFICIAL GOVERNMENT-TO-GOVERNMENT TALKS. 
MICHAEL SNIDER  REPORTS FROM SEOUL, THE SOUTH'S RELUCTANT 
ACCEPTANCE OF BEIJING AS THE  VENUE FOR THE TWO-PARTY TALKS 
CLEARS THE WAY FOR THE FIRST GOVERNMENT-LEVEL CONTACT BETWEEN THE
TWO SIDES IN FOUR YEARS.

TEXT: SOUTH KOREA ACCEPTED THE NORTH'S UNCOMPROMISING PROPOSAL 
WEDNESDAY THAT BEIJING BE THE VENUE OF THE FIRST MEETING BETWEEN 
THE TWO RIVAL  GOVERNMENTS SINCE THE DEATH OF NORTH KOREAN LEADER
KIM IL SUNG IN 1994.  AFTER INITIALLY INSISTING UPON MEETING 
SOMEWHERE INSIDE THE KOREAN  PENINSULA, SOUTH KOREAN GOVERNMENT 
NEGOTIATORS AGREED TO MEET THEIR  NORTHERN NEIGHBORS AT THE CHINA
WORLD HOTEL IN BEIJING ON APRIL 11TH.

SEOUL HAD WANTED TO HOLD THE LANDMARK MEETING IN THE TRUCE 
VILLAGE OF  PANMUNJOM -- OR ANYWHERE ELSE ON THE KOREAN 
PENINSULA.  BUT PYONGYANG  REJECTED ITS PROPOSALS IN FAVOR OF 
BEIJING.  NORTH KOREA'S INSISTENCE ON  MEETING IN THE CHINESE 
CAPITAL IS SEEN AS AN EFFORT TO AVOID POLITICAL  EMBARRASSMENT 
FOR ITS PEOPLE.

SOUTH KOREA EARLIER SAID IT WOULD SEND A FIVE-MEMBER DELEGATION, 
LED BY  DEPUTY UNIFICATION MINISTER JEONG SE-HYUN AND COMPOSED OF
OFFICIALS FROM  THE PRESIDENTIAL BLUE HOUSE AND THE AGRICULTURE 
AND FORESTRY MINISTRY.  THE NORTH HAS YET TO ANNOUNCE ITS 
DELEGATION MEMBERS.

THE LAST TWO-PARTY TALKS BETWEEN SOUTH AND NORTH KOREA, STILL  
TECHNICALLY AT WAR, WAS IN 1994 WHEN THE DEPUTY PRIME MINISTERS 
OF BOTH  SIDES MET TO PREPARE FOR THE FIRST-EVER INTER-KOREA 
SUMMIT.  THE SUMMIT WAS CANCELLED BECAUSE OF THE DEATH OF NORTH 
KOREA'S KIM IL SUNG, IN JULY OF THAT YEAR.   RELATIONS BETWEEN 
THE TWO SIDES DETERIORATED AFTER PYONGYANG  SHARPLY CRITICIZED 
SOUTH KOREA'S FORMER PRESIDENT KIM YOUNG-SAM FOR NOT SENDING HIS 
CONDOLENCES. 

NORTH KOREA UNOFFICIALLY APPEALED FOR 200-THOUSAND TONS OF 
FERTILIZER FROM THE SOUTH LATE LAST YEAR.  SEOUL'S OFFER TO 
SUPPLY THE FAMINE-RAVAGED  NORTH WITH FERTILIZER PAVED THE WAY 
FOR OFFICIAL  GOVERNMENT-TO-GOVERNMENT TALKS. THE COMMUNIST 
COUNTRY HAS SUFFERED THROUGH THREE YEARS OF BAD WEATHER AND HAS 
FACED SEVERE FAMINE CAUSED BY  INEFFECTIVE FARMING METHODS.  
NORTH KOREA HAS RELIED ON FOREIGN FOOD AID  IN ORDER TO FEED ITS 
22 MILLION PEOPLE. (SIGNED)

NEB/MS/GC/FC



08-Apr-98 7:08 AM EDT (1108 UTC)
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Source: Voice of America
.