TITLE=KOREA SUMMIT (L)
INTRO: The long-awaited summit between the leaders of
North and South Korea has been delayed by one day at
North Korea's request. But VOA correspondent Roger
Wilkison reports from Seoul that South Korean
officials say the summit is not in jeopardy and will
TEXT: A spokesman for South Korean president Kim Dae-
jung says the North Koreans asked for the one-day
postponement for what they called "unavoidable
technical reasons". But spokesman Park Joon-young
quotes Mr. Kim as saying the two Koreas have waited 55
years for this first-ever meeting between their
leaders, so one more day does not matter.
South Korean Unification Minister Park Jae-kyu is
quoted by South Korea's Yonhap news agency as saying
that North Korea wants to make what he called "more
thorough" preparations for the summit. He says it
wants to make sure there will be no problems with
President Kim's visit to Pyongyang, the North Korean
Mr. Kim was scheduled to fly to Pyongyang on Monday
and hold meetings with North Korean leader Kim Jong-il
on Tuesday and Wednesday before returning to South
Korea by car. Now, the summit will take place from
Tuesday to Thursday.
The summit is viewed as an important step toward
gradual reconciliation between North and South Korea
after decades of conflict. The three-year Korean War
in the 1950s ended in an armistice, not a permanent
peace treaty, and the border between the two Koreas is
often described as the Cold War's last frontier.
At the summit, South Korea is expected to offer
economic aid to the impoverished North as a way of
persuading the North Koreans to make concessions on
issues such as the reunion of families separated by
the war. This is an emotional issue in South Korea.
Several million people from North Korea fled to the
South before and during the war. They are now old and
anxious to see long-lost relatives before they die.
The summit's agenda is broadly worded. It calls for
joint efforts to promote peace and national
unification. But it will allow each side to raise any
issue, even one as contentious as the US military
presence in South Korea, which North Korea opposes.
On the other hand, South Korea might bring up North
Korea's missile and nuclear programs, which are seen
as sources of instability in east Asia. (signed)
11-Jun-2000 00:14 AM EDT (11-Jun-2000 0414 UTC)
Source: Voice of America
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