DATE=1/20/1999 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT TITLE=SOUTH KOREA / CHINA MILITARY (L-ONLY) NUMBER=2-258237 BYLINE=HYUN SUNG KHANG DATELINE=SEOUL CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: China and South Korea have warned against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction on the Korean peninsula, saying it would set off an arms race. The rare joint stand came during a landmark trip to South Korea by the Chinese Defense Minister. As Hyun-Sung Khang reports from the South Korean capital Seoul, the statement is seen as being directed at reclusive North Korea. TEXT: Following a meeting between the Defense Ministers of the two countries, China's Defense Chief, Chi Haotian, urged the two Koreas not to develop weapons of mass destruction. He said stability on the divided peninsula is vital to regional peace. He added Beijing would provide full support for non-proliferation of nuclear weapons on the peninsula. His South Korean counterpart, General Cho Sung-tae, endorsed the remarks. Mr. Chi's comments are part of Beijing's official policy, but South Korean officials see them as being directed at Pyongyang rather than Seoul. Although North Korea has frozen its suspected nuclear weapons program, under a 1994 accord with the United States, concerns remain over its missile, chemical and biological warfare capabilities. South Korea's Defense white paper, released last year, said North Korea had boosted its stockpile of chemical weapons fivefold, to 5000 tons. General Chi is on a five-day trip to South Korea, the first of its kind by a Chinese defense chief. He met South Korean President Kim Dae-jung, who praised China's role in reducing the threat of war between the two Koreas. China has been a staunch ally of the North, providing aid and trade to the reclusive government. During the 1950-to-1953 Korean War, Chinese soldiers fought alongside North Koreans. But since China and South Korea established diplomatic ties in 1992, relations between the two countries have improved. China is South Korea's third-largest trading partner. The visit by the Chinese Defense Chief is just the latest demonstration of the warmer relations between them. (SIGNED) NEB/GC/FC 20-Jan-2000 04:48 AM EDT (20-Jan-2000 0948 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .
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