DATE=4/18/2000 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT TITLE=KOREA TALKS (L-ONLY) NUMBER=2-261455 BYLINE=HYUN-SUNG KHANG DATELINE=SEOUL CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: South Korea's Foreign Affairs Minister says the June summit between North and South Korea could end half a century of hostilities between the two countries. As Hyun-Sung Khang reports from Seoul, the comment came as South Korea proposed the two sides sit down on Saturday for preparatory talks on the summit. TEXT: South Korea has proposed working-level talks at the truce village of Panmunjom, located in the demilitarized zone, dividing the two Korea's. The proposal was made by telephone, by the Red Cross representative in South Korea, to his counterpart in the North. The Red Cross has long been a conduit for communications between the two sides. A South Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman says Pyongyang immediately accepted, but he added North Korea may still make counter proposals. North Korea is believed to prefer Beijing as a venue for the working level talks. Seoul has proposed that a five member delegation from each country, headed by a vice-minister, discuss procedural details surrounding the June summit, including the agenda and security issues. South Korea's Foreign Minister Lee Joung Bin told reporters on Tuesday the South Korean government is working towards the June meeting with a deep sense of historic mission and achievement. He says the summit could signal the end of 50 years of hostilities between the two countries and in his words, "put them on a new footing of reconciliation." The planned meeting in June 12th to 14th between the South Korean President, Kim Dae Jung and the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-Il, will be the first of its kind, since the two Koreas were divided in 1945. In the past, North Korea has rejected direct contacts with the South, calling the Seoul government a puppet of Washington. Technically, the two Koreas are still at war. No peace treaty was ever signed following the civil conflict in 1950-1953. NEB/HSK/FC 18-Apr-2000 04:09 AM EDT (18-Apr-2000 0809 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .
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