DATE=4/10/2000 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT TITLE=U-S - KOREA (L) NUMBER=2-261141 BYLINE=DEBORAH TATE DATELINE=WHITE HOUSE CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: President Clinton is welcoming plans by the leaders of North and South Korea to hold a first-ever summit later this year. Correspondent Deborah Tate reports from the White House. Text: White House spokesman Joe Lockhart read a statement by President Clinton praising South Korean President Kim Dae Jung and North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il for scheduling the face-to-face talks, to take place in the North Korean capital, Pyongyang, in June. /// FIRST LOCKHART ACTUALITY /// Direct dialogue between the two Koreas is something we have long advocated and is fundamental to solving the problems of the Korean peninsula. /// END ACT /// Although the U-S administration has long been pressing for such a meeting, Mr. Clinton's statement attributed much of the credit for arranging the talks to the South Korean leader's so-called Sunshine policy, which has provided food assistance to the famine-plagued Communist North and encouraged Washington and Seoul to engage with Pyongyang. /// SECOND LOCKHART ACTUALITY /// This announcement is testimony to the wisdom and long-term vision of President Kim Dae Jung's engagement policy. I congratulate both leaders on their decision to meet. /// END ACT /// At the State Department, Secretary Madeleine Albright also welcomed word of the summit in a phone call to her South Korean counterpart (Lee Joung-Binn). The United States has been advocating a direct meeting between the South and North Korean leaders since 1994, when former President Jimmy Carter helped broker a planned summit meeting that was scrapped because of the death then-North Korean leader Kim Il Sung, father of Kim Jong-Il. Last year, in a report on U-S policy toward North Korea, former Defense Secretary William Perry again underscored the importance of direct talks between the leaders in the effort to end one of the Cold War's last conflicts. Meanwhile, the United States - which has some 37- thousand troops on the Korean peninsula - has been stepping up its diplomacy with North Korea in recent months in an effort to get Pyongyang to abandon its missile program in exchange for possible economic aid. The administration is seeking to invite a high-level North Korean delegation to Washington for the first time, and officials say they hope a deal on the possible visit will be reached in the coming weeks. (Signed) NEB/DAT/TVM/gm 10-Apr-2000 17:28 PM EDT (10-Apr-2000 2128 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .
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