DATE=6/15/2000 TYPE=WORLD OPINION ROUNDUP TITLE=TWO KOREAN LEADERS MEET, DIFUSEING TENSIONS NUMBER=6-11875 BYLINE=ANDREW GUTHRIE DATELINE=WASHINGTON EDITOR=ASSIGNMENTS TELEPHONE=619-3335 INTERNET=YES CONTENT= INTRO: The world's press was busy this week with two major international developments. First it was the death of Syrian President Hafez al-Assad. Now reaction is pouring in to the historic summit meeting of the North and South Korean leaders. In this week's World Opinion Roundup from ____________, we get reaction to the Korean summit. TEXT: Some papers are calling the Korean summit nothing less than the final act of the Cold War. Editorial writers struggled to describe the significance of the three-day meeting between North Korea leader Kim Jong Il and South Korean President Kim Dae Jung. We begin in North Korea's capital, Pyongyang, where the official K-C-N-A news agency described the meetings: VOICE: The Pyongyang meeting - - the first of its kind in more than half a century of territorial partition - - marked an important occasion of opening a bright prospect of removing distrust and confrontation between the North and South, promoting trust and reconciliation between them and bringing earlier the great unity of the fellow countrymen and reunification on the principle of national independence. TEXT: In South Korea's commercial press, Segye Ilbo commented, cautiously: VOICE: [The] summit ... produced an agreement that marked a signpost in our journey to reunification with North Korea ... What distinguishes this agreement from past pledges is the commitment of president Kim and his North Korean counterpart to its success ... In the wake of the summit, we urge the North to open its bolted door. Haven't we proven enough that we are not seeking `reunification by absorption' with the North? TEXT: Across town, Joong-Ang Ilbo responded: VOICE: Throughout the summit ... Kim Jong-il is reported to have maintained an enthusiastic and reasonable posture, helping to build common ground with President Kim ... The North, we notice is ...departing from its past, rigid positions ... We hope that both the North and the South will be marching toward peace together. Kim Jong Il's Seoul visit would further enlarge our chances for peace. TEXT: Perhaps in no other capital, outside the Korean peninsula, was the summit watched with more interest than in Beijing, where the People's Daily ran this reaction: VOICE: The historic handshaking between North and South Korean leaders reflects the common will of the Korean people for unification. The handshaking has broken the ice for peaceful unification of the two Korean nations, and has created favorable conditions and atmosphere for the peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula. TEXT: In Japan, there was also great interest, as reflected in Yomiuri's editorial from Tokyo. VOICE: What the two sides must do now is ... implement what they have agreed, not confining their agreement to mere words. In this respect, much hinges on the political skills and determination of Kim Dae- jung and Kim Jong Il. /// OPT /// In particular, we urge the North to treat the agreement with sincerity ... [it] cannot be implemented steadily if security is shaken. /// END OPT /// TEXT: Still in Asia, on Taiwan, the English language Taipei Times greeted the summit with some candid geopolitical analysis. VOICE: Some optimistic observers assert that the summit will promote peace and stability in northeast Asia and will be a prologue to Korea's future reunification. This is wishful thinking. Not only do the two Koreas have separate needs, but other states that have stakes in the peninsula are suspicious about reunification and, in fact, [are] opposed to it ... Likewise, Japan and the United States do not want to see reunification. ... Japan is worried by the threat and challenge posed by a unified and powerful Korea. As for the United States, the prospect of losing a reason for deploying its troops in South Korea is unnerving... TEXT: Thailand also is watching, and in Bangkok, The Daily News suggested: VOICE: The main obstacle to overcome first and foremost that has derailed all past negotiations between the two Koreas is the presence of 37-thousand U-S troops in South Korea ... It is believed that the removal of this one barrier will shorten greatly the time before the demarcation line is finally erased. TEXT: In the far South Pacific, we get Australian reaction from The Sydney Morning Herald from Friday's [6/16] edition, as the big daily suggests: "One Korea, but not yet." VOICE: Just as the reunification of Germany depended on changes in the German people, the future of Korea, a nation divided since 1948, is a matter entirely in the hands of the Koreans themselves. That came clearly into focus in Pyongyang this week. If the people of North and South Korea make a new destiny for themselves, as they appear ready to do, even the most powerful nations of the world ... will have to accept that. /// opt /// TEXT: To Europe now, where in London, the Guardian reported from Seoul: VOICE: The outside world was shrugged aside in a mood of Korean togetherness ... For South Korean opinion, the agreement, coming on top of the warm atmosphere of the whole summit, will complete the remarkable transformation of North Korea from public enemy to close family. Kim Dae-jung can justly claim much of the credit for persisting in his `sunshine policy' after becoming president in 1998 ... despite ... skepticism in the South. /// end opt /// TEXTG: In Germany's financial capital, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung writes: VOICE: For decades it was the rule for South Korea and international politics to be prepared for unpleasant turns when dealing with North Korea. Pyongyang, however, is surprising everyone pleasantly during the first Korean summit ... the two state leaders on the second day of the summit signed an agreement over reconciliation and cooperation, which gives rise to hopes that separated families can be reunited, tensions reduced, and reunification ultimately achieved. It is too early to cheer, but already this summit has delivered more than even optimists dared to hope. /// opt /// TEXT: They are pretty surprised and pleased in Italy also, where in Il Messaggero from Rome, muses: VOICE: ... the outcome of the first top-level summit between the two Koreas went beyond all reasonable expectations and scored one point not only for the regional peace process, but for global peace as well. TEXT: To North America now, where in Canada, Toronto's Globe and Mail was also significantly impressed, and the editorial notes, somewhat poetically: VOICE: Now, after half a century of continuing enmity, the 38th parallel splitting the Korean peninsula has been breached, not by more cross-border clashes but by outstretched hands. /// end opt /// TEXT: We give the final word on this historic summit to Bahrain, where The Gulf Daily News in Manama noted the key points of the communique. VOICE: North and South Korea will exchange long-term prisoners and let divided families meet ... The North's leader ... has also accepted an invitation to visit south Korea ... at the end of the historic summit ... An unknown number of families divided since Korea was split in 1945 will be allowed to meet relatives in each other's country around August 15,the 55th anniversary of the liberation of Korea... TEXT: On that upbeat note, we conclude this sampling of global press comment on the historic summit meeting between the two Koreas that took place this week in Pyongyang. NEB/ANG/KBK NEB/ANG/ 15-Jun-2000 15:59 PM LOC (15-Jun-2000 1959 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .
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