DATE=4/25/2000 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT TITLE=KOREA SUMMIT QUESTIONS (L-ONLY) NUMBER=2-261679 BYLINE=HYUN-SUNG KHANG DATELINE=SEOUL CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: Doubts are being raised in South Korea about whether the reclusive leader of North Korea plans to negotiate directly with the South Korean president at their planned summit meeting in June. As Hyun Sung Khang reports from Seoul, the South Korean government says anything other than direct negotiations would be unacceptable. TEXT: The controversy centers on the wording of the original announcement of the leaders' summit, which was made simultaneously in Seoul and Pyongyang earlier this month. The statement said there would a historic meeting between the South Korean president, Kim Dae Jung, and the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-Il. The announcement continued: "and subsequently, the highest-level talks will take place." Analysts, writing in the South Korean media, suggest the wording is ambiguous and may mean the leaders' meeting and the negotiations are separate. There are concerns that the North Korean leader plans to greet the South Korean president and then leave the negotiations to the country's ceremonial head of state. The analysts say this would be in keeping with the style of North Korean leader, Kim Jong-Il. Little is known about him and he rarely makes public appearances. Kim Jong-Il inherited leadership of the country after the death of his father, the founder of North Korea, Kim Il-Sung. Seoul, which has been trumpeting the meeting as a breakthrough in diplomatic relations between the two Koreas, has tried to dampen the concerns. But a government spokesman, Chung Jun-Hui, acknowledged there is room for different interpretations of the statement. He added that if the two meetings were separate, that would be unacceptable to the South Korea government. South Korean President Kim Dae Jung has invested much of his personal prestige in his much-touted "Sunshine Policy" of engagement with Pyongyang. A refusal by the North Korean leader to negotiate directly with President Kim would be viewed in the South as a direct snub. (SIGNED) NEB/HSK/FC/JP 25-Apr-2000 05:51 AM EDT (25-Apr-2000 0951 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .
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