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DATE=9/10/98 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT NUMBER=2-238444 TITLE=SOUTH KOREA / NORTH KOREA UPDATE (L) BYLINE=KEN SCHWARTZ DATELINE=WASHINGTON CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: SOUTH KOREA'S FOREIGN MINISTER HONG SOON-YOUNG SAYS ALL AVAILABLE INFORMATION SUPPORTS NORTH KOREA'S EXPLANATION THAT LAST WEEK'S TEST LAUNCH OF AN INTERMEDIATE-RANGE MISSILE WAS ACTUALLY A SATELLITE THAT FAILED TO REACH ORBIT. DESPITE THIS APPARENT SHOW OF STRENGTH BY THE NORTH, MR. HONG SAYS THERE WILL BE NO EASING OF EFFORTS TO HELP BRING NORTH KOREA INTO THE WORLD COMMUNITY. V-O-A'S KEN SCHWARTZ REPORTS. TEXT: AT A WASHINGTON NEWS CONFERENCE (TODAY, THURSDAY), SOUTH KOREA'S MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND TRADE, HONG SOON-YOUNG, SAID THERE IS NO REASON TO BELIEVE NORTH KOREA'S POSSIBLE TEST FLIGHT LAST WEEK OF A TAEPODONG (TAH-PO-DONG) MISSILE VIOLATED THE FRAMEWORK AGREEMENT THAT FROZE THE NORTH'S SUSPECTED NUCLEAR WEAPONS PROGRAM. WHETHER IT WAS A MISSILE OR A SATELLITE THAT THE NORTH TRIED TO LAUNCH INTO ORBIT, MR. HONG SAYS IT IS IMPORTANT TO PRESERVE THAT AGREEMENT. /// HONG ACT /// THE FRAMEWORK AGREEMENT I REPEAT IS A CONTRIBUTION TO THE STABILITY IN THE KOREAN PENINSULA AND THE REACTION TO THE MISSILE FIRING IS ANOTHER SECURITY THREAT. THERE'S NO DOUBT THAT THIS IS A THREAT NOT ONLY TO MY NATION BUT TO THE REGION AS A WHOLE." /// END ACT /// MR. HONG SAID DESPITE WHAT HE CALLS THE TRICKINESS OF INTER-KOREAN RELATIONS, SEOUL BELIEVES ENGAGING NORTH KOREA IN DIALOGUE IS THE WISEST PATH TO TAKE. /// HONG ACT /// IN TIME, THE ENGAGEMENT POLICY HAS THE BEST CHANCE OF NUDGING NORTH KOREA TO COME OUT OF ITS SELF-IMPOSED ISOLATION AND MOVE TOWARD GRADUAL OPENING AND EXCHANGE. /// END ACT /// THE SOUTH KOREAN OFFICIAL SAYS HE DOES NOT BELIEVE THE COLLAPSE OF NORTH KOREA IS IMMINENT AND SAYS SEOUL WILL TAKE NO STEPS TO HASTEN ITS DEMISE. MR. HONG SAYS HIS COUNTRY'S EFFORTS FOCUS ON A PEACEFUL CO-EXISTENCE WITH THE NORTH. BUT HE SAYS THERE ARE LIMITS ON HOW FAR THE SOUTH IS WILLING TO GO TO PUSH FOR CHANGE IN THE NORTH. /// HONG ACT /// THERE IS NO ASSURANCE THAT NORTH KOREA WILL RESPOND WITH REASON AND IN GOOD FAITH TO WHAT THE SOUTH HAS TO OFFER. /// END ACT /// MR. HONG CONFIRMED REPORTS THAT DESPITE THE ALLEGED MISSILE TEST THE UNITED STATES PLANS TO SHIP ABOUT 300-THOUSAND TONS IN FOOD AID SPREAD OUT OVER AN UNSPECIFIED PERIOD OF TIME TO THE FAMINE-STRICKEN NORTH.(SIGNED) NEB/PT 10-Sep-98 7:00 PM EDT (2300 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .