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DATE=4/5/2000
TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
TITLE=JAPAN / NORKOR TALKS (L-O)
NUMBER=2-260963
BYLINE=HYUN-SUNG KHANG
DATELINE=SEOUL
CONTENT=
VOICED AT:
INTRO:  North Korea and Japan have begun talks aimed 
at establishing diplomatic ties.  Hyun-Sung Khang 
reports from Seoul that North Korea has demanded Japan 
pay compensation for its past rule of the Korean 
peninsula.
TEXT:  Communist North Korea wants an apology and 
compensation for Japan's harsh colonial rule between 
1910 and 1945.  North Korea's chief negotiator to the 
talks made the demand while outlining Pyongyang's 
position at the beginning of three-days of 
discussions. 
The North Korean media joined the campaign for 
compensation, calling for Tokyo to - liquidate its 
past.
The issue is likely to be a major sticking point 
between the two sides.  Before the talks began, the 
Japanese representative signaled that his country is 
prepared to state its regret for its colonial record, 
but will reject demands for compensation.
One major issue for Japan in this week's talks is 
North Korea's missile program.  Japan is looking for 
an assurance that the reclusive North will bring the 
program to a halt.  Tokyo angrily broke off contacts 
with Pyongyang for more than a year after the North 
fired a medium-range ballistic missile over Japanese 
territory in 1998.
Japan is also likely to press the case of 10 of its 
citizens who were allegedly kidnapped in the 1970's 
and 1980's by North Korea.  It is believed the 10 were 
to be used to train spies about everyday life in 
Japan.
The last full-scale rapprochement talks between the 
two sides collapsed more than seven-years ago, when 
Tokyo raised the issue of its missing citizens and 
protested against Pyongyang's suspected nuclear arms 
program.
As this round of talks began, negotiators acknowledged 
there are huge hurdles ahead. 
The discussions are going forward despite the change 
of leadership in Japan.  Former Japanese Prime 
Minister, Keizo Obuchi played a significant role in 
bringing the two countries to the negotiating table.
According to a Japanese official, the North Korean 
representative wished Mr. Obuchi, who is in a coma, a 
speedy recovery.  He acknowledged that the former 
prime minister had worked hard to improve North 
Korean-Japanese relations.   (SIGNED)
NEB/HSK/FC/RAE
05-Apr-2000 07:42 AM EDT (05-Apr-2000 1142 UTC)
NNNN
Source: Voice of America
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