Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

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)
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Source: Voice of America
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