News



DATE=4/13/98
TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
NUMBER=2-229560
TITLE=KOREA TALKS / L
BYLINE=STEPHANIE HO
DATELINE=BEIJING
CONTENT=
VOICED AT: 

INTRO:  NORTH AND SOUTH KOREAN REPRESENTATIVES HAVE FINISHED A 
THIRD DAY OF TALKS IN A BEIJING HOTEL TODAY (MONDAY), WITH AN 
AGREEMENT TO CONTINUE THEIR MEETING INTO A FOURTH DAY.  AS 
V-O-A'S STEPHANIE HO REPORTS, THIS IS THE HIGHEST-LEVEL MEETING 
BETWEEN THE TWO RIVAL COUNTRIES IN NEARLY FOUR YEARS.

TEXT:  THE TALKS -- WHICH BEGAN IN A BEIJING HOTEL SATURDAY -- 
HAVE FOCUSED ON TWO MAJOR ISSUES.

FIRST OF ALL, FAMINE-STRICKEN NORTH KOREA -- WHERE MILLIONS OF 
PEOPLE ARE BELIEVED TO BE STARVING -- IS REQUESTING UP TO 200 
THOUSAND TONS OF FERTILIZER.  SOUTH KOREA HAS SAID IT WILL 
PROVIDE FERTILIZER -- AS WELL AS OTHER AGRICULTURAL EQUIPMENT -- 
BUT SAYS IT ALSO WANTS TO RESOLVE THE ISSUE OF FAMILIES SEPARATED
BY THE KOREAN WAR THAT ENDED IN 1953.

TWO DELEGATIONS -- LED BY SOUTH KOREAN VICE-MINISTER JEONG 
SE-HYUN AND HIS NORTH KOREAN COUNTERPART, JON KUM-CHOL -- HAVE 
DISCUSSED THESE ISSUES FOR THREE DAYS, BUT HAVE NOT REACHED 
AGREEMENT.

MR. JEONG -- THE SOUTH KOREAN OFFICIAL -- SAYS HIS GOVERNMENT 
FEELS BOTH ISSUES MUST BE RESOLVED CONCURRENTLY.

            // JEONG AND TRANSLATOR ACTUALITY //

         (KOREAN)  I WANT TO MAKE CLEAR OUR GOVERNMENT POSITION, 
         THAT INCLUDING FERTILIZER ISSUES AND ALL OTHER URGENT 
         ISSUES LIKE SEPARATED FAMILY ISSUES, SHALL BE DISCUSSED 
         AND SOLVED AT THE SAME TIME.

            // END ACTUALITY //

THE SOUTH KOREAN DELEGATION HEAD WOULD NOT GIVE ANY DETAILS ABOUT
THE DIFFERENCES THAT STILL EXIST BETWEEN BOTH SIDES BECAUSE HE 
SAID IT COULD JEOPARDIZE THE ONGOING NEGOTIATIONS.  EARLIER, HE 
SAID SOUTH KOREA WANTS THE NORTH TO AGREE TO ALLOW VISITS BETWEEN
FAMILY MEMBERS ON BOTH SIDES OF THE DIVIDED KOREAN PENINSULA.

ALSO, SOUTH KOREA IS DEMANDING AN EXCHANGE OF SPECIAL ENVOYS AND 
THE RE-OPENING OF LIAISON OFFICES IN THE BORDER VILLAGE, 
PANMUNJOM, ABANDONED BY NORTH KOREA IN 1996.

THE TALKS HAVE BEEN CHARACTERIZED BY THE SOUTH KOREAN OFFICIAL AS
SERIOUS AND SINCERE.  THEY ARE SCHEDULED TO CONTINUE FOR A FOURTH
DAY -- WHICH THE SOUTH KOREAN OFFICIAL SAYS IS, IN ITSELF, A 
POSITIVE SIGN.  

HE DID NOT RULE OUT THE POSSIBILITY OF THE TWO SIDES REACHING  
AGREEMENT TUESDAY, BUT ADMITTED ANY SPEEDY RESOLUTION WOULD BE --
IN HIS WORDS -- DRAMATIC.  (SIGNED)

NEB / HO / WD / WD    

13-Apr-98 8:06 AM EDT (1206 UTC)
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Source: Voice of America
.