TYPE=WORLD OPINION ROUNDUP
TITLE=TWO KOREAN LEADERS MEET, DIFUSEING TENSIONS
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
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
TEXT: In South Korea's commercial press, Segye Ilbo
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
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
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
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
/// 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
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
15-Jun-2000 15:59 PM LOC (15-Jun-2000 1959 UTC)
Source: Voice of America
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