Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

DATE=6/12/2000
TYPE=BACKGROUND REPORT
TITLE=KOREA SUMMIT SCENESETTER
NUMBER=5-46482
BYLINE=ROGER WILKISON
DATELINE=SEOUL
CONTENT=
VOICED AT:
INTRO:  The leaders of North and South Korea are 
scheduled to begin an historic three-day summit 
Tuesday in Pyongyang, the North Korean capital, -- the 
first meeting between the countries' leaders since the 
Korean War ended about a half century ago.  VOA 
correspondent Roger Wilkison reports communist North 
Korea wants aid to help rebuild its impoverished 
economy, South Korea wants to give millions of divided 
families a chance to reunite, and the world is hoping 
for a lessening of tensions on the Cold War's last 
frontier.
TEXT:  The unprecedented summit was delayed for a day 
due to what North Korea calls "unavoidable technical 
problems." What that means is anybody's guess, but  
South Korean officials say North Korea is angry that 
South Korean news media have reported on President 
Kim's schedule of activities when he visits the North.  
The officials say those reports were mostly based on 
speculation and ran counter to North Korea's practice 
of never publicizing the activities of its own leader 
--  Kim Jong-il  --  in advance. /// OPT /// Two weeks 
ago, Kim Jong-il's trip to China was shrouded in 
secrecy and not officially disclosed until he returned 
home. /// END OPT ///
South Korea's President Kim was quoted Sunday by his 
spokesman as saying the two sides have waited 55 years 
for this meeting, so a delay of one more day does not 
matter.  
The South Korean government is trying to downplay 
expectations about the summit, calling it just the 
beginning of a long road toward reconciliation after 
decades of bitter conflict between the two Koreas.  
But as one South Korean minister puts it, the mere 
photograph of the two leaders shaking hands and 
smiling will provide momentum for peace on the 
peninsula.  There has been no formal peace since the 
Korean War ended in 1953, only an armistice.
North Korea, which has suffered famine as a result of 
five years of natural disasters and mismanagement of 
its collective farm system, is hoping that the summit 
will bring it food aid and investment from South 
Korean companies to rebuild its dilapidated economy.  
Lee Jung-min, a professor of international relations 
at Seoul's Yonsei University, says Pyongyang is hoping 
that the summit and its recent diplomatic opening-up 
to the outside world will bring in more foreign 
assistance.
            /// LEE ACTUALITY ///
North Korea's strategy is, I think, quite simple.  
They cannot afford to open up North Korea like China 
because of (internal) political repercussions.  But 
they need foreign aid and economic assistance quite 
badly.  So, therefore, by taking the pragmatic 
diplomatic approach, including the North-South summit, 
they give the impression that they're moving in the 
right direction, but not all the way.  So, therefore, 
they're able to lock in assistance and aid from 
western countries as well as South Korea and Japan.  
And I think they will pursue this strategy for as long 
as it takes.
            /// END ACTUALITY ///
In exchange for food aid and investment money, South 
Korea hopes unpredictable North Korea will move away 
from military threats to lessen tension on the Korean 
peninsula.  That is a goal shared by the United 
States, China, Japan and Russia, all of which have a 
strategic interest in keeping the peninsula stable.  
But South Korea also wants to facilitate reunions of 
family members who have been separated since the 
Korean War.  More than seven million South Koreans 
have relatives in the North, whom they have been 
unable to visit or phone or even correspond with for a 
half-century.  Cho Dong-young, who heads South Korea's 
leading association of separated family members,  says 
he is hopeful that an agreement for such reunions can 
be struck at the summit.  If it is not, he says, many 
separated family members will lose faith in their 
government's ability to obtain anything from North 
Korea.
            /// CHO ACTUALITY (IN KOREAN) ///
Mr. Cho says he is, at the very least, hoping for an 
agreement that will allow divided families to exchange 
correspondence across the heavily militarized border. 
If that fails to materialize, he says, the family 
members -most of whom are elderly-  will become 
desperate.  Mr. Cho says the separated families 
deserve something in exchange for South Korean 
economic cooperation with the North.  He says they 
should at least be able to find out whether their 
relatives in the North are alive.
Although the broadly worded agenda for the summit will 
allow both sides to bring up any issue, experts rule 
out any agreement on such sensitive topics as the U-S 
troop presence in South Korea or North Korea's nuclear 
and missile programs.  Yonsei University's Professor 
Lee says the credibility of President Kim Dae-jung's 
sunshine policy of engaging the North will depend on 
whether he can build upon the contacts established at 
the summit.
            /// LEE ACTUALITY ///
What type of follow-up measures will there be?  For 
example, will Kim Jong-il come down to Seoul for a 
second inter-Korean summit, and will there be 
routinized high-level discussions?  Will, for example, 
the prime ministers of the two countries, meet again 
on a regular basis to talk about economic issues, 
separated families, and to basically enhance security 
on the peninsula?  So, if those follow-up measures do 
occur within President Kim's remaining two and a half 
years in office, then I would agree that his place in 
history would be more secure.  So he has to go well 
beyond just a single summit this time.    
            /// END ACTUALITY ///
If the first meetings between the two leaders go 
smoothly, working groups on the main issues are 
expected to be set up. 
            /// REST OPT ///
Both sides have agreed that there will be no display 
of national flags and no singing of national anthems 
at the summit.  And, in a departure for most visitors 
to Pyongyang, the South Korean delegation will not 
have to bow before the giant statue of North Korea's 
late leader, Kim Il-sung. (signed)
NEB/HK/RW/JO
12-Jun-2000 17:58 PM EDT (12-Jun-2000 2158 UTC)
NNNN
Source: Voice of America
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