News

DATE=12/14/98 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT NUMBER=2-242943 TITLE=NORTH KOREA / NUCLEAR (L-ONLY) BYLINE=JENNIFER VEALE DATELINE=SEOUL CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: SOUTH KOREAN NEWS MEDIA ARE REPORTING THAT NORTH KOREA HAS DROPPED ITS DEMAND FOR CASH FOR U-S INSPECTIONS OF A SUSPECTED NUCLEAR WEAPONS SITE. AS JENNIFER VEALE REPORTS FROM SEOUL THE REPORTS SAY PYONGYANG HAS AGREED TO INSPECTIONS IN RETURN FOR MORE FOOD AID FROM THE UNITED STATES . TEXT: THE NEWS REPORTS SAY OFFICIALS IN PYONGYANG HAVE DROPPED THEIR THREE HUNDRED MILLION DOLLAR PRICE TAG FOR SITE INSPECTIONS. INSTEAD, NORTH KOREA, WHICH IS BESET BY AN ECONOMIC CRISIS, IS SEEKING FOOD AID AND OTHER BENEFITS . THE REPORTS IN THE SOUTH KOREAN MEDIA SAY A BREAKTHROUGH ON THE MATTER CAME DURING LAST WEEK'S NEGOTIATIONS IN NEW YORK AND WASHINGTON, ON THE NUCLEAR ISSUE. A SPOKESMAN FOR THE UNITED STATES EMBASSY IN SEOUL SAID HE COULD NOT CONFIRM THE UNITED STATES HAS AGREED TO PROVIDE FURTHER FOOD AID IN RETURN FOR A SITE INSPECTION, BUT DID ACKNOWLEDGE PROGRESS WAS MADE DURING LAST WEEK'S TALKS. ALSO LAST WEEK, SOUTH KOREAN PRESIDENT KIM DAE-JUNG PROPOSED A PACKAGE DEAL IN WHICH THE UNITED STATES WOULD PROVIDE ECONOMIC AND POLITICAL BENEFITS TO THE NORTH, IN EXCHANGE FOR ITS COOPERATION IN SITE INSPECTIONS. PRESIDENT KIM MADE THE SUGGESTION IN A MEETING WITH FORMER U-S DEFENSE SECRETARY WILLLAM PERRY, WHO IS PRESIDENT CLINTON'S NORTH KOREA POLICY COORDINATOR. THE UNITED STATES HAS BEEN DEMANDING UNCONDITIONAL ACCESS TO A SUSPECTED NUCLEAR FACILITY IN THE NORTH, WHICH IT SAYS COULD BE IN VIOLATION OF A NUCLEAR PACT REACHED BETWEEN THE TWO COUNTRIES FOUR YEARS AGO. UNDER THAT PACT -- KNOWN AS THE 1994 AGREED FRAMEWORK -- WASHINGTON AGREED TO FURNISH PYONGYANG WITH TWO LIGHTWATER REACTORS AND INTERIM FUEL SUPPLIES. IN RETURN, THE NORTH AGREED TO FREEZE ITS SUSPECTED NUCLEAR WEAPONS PROGRAM. MONDAY'S NEWS REPORTS FROM SEOUL SAY THE TWO SIDES HAVE AGREED TO HOLD FURTHER DISCUSSIONS IN GENEVA NEXT MONTH, IN ADVANCE OF THE FOURTH ROUND OF FOUR-PARTY TALKS DESIGNED TO FORMALLY END THE 1950 TO 1953 KOREAN WAR. (SIGNED) NEB/AB/FC 14-Dec-98 6:57 AM EST (1157 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .