DATE=7/11/2000 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT TITLE=G-8 / NORTH KOREA (L-O) NUMBER=2-264291 BYLINE=ALISHA RYU DATELINE=HONG KONG CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: Foreign ministers from the world's seven most industrialized nations and Russia, known as the G-8, are expected to endorse Wednesday North Korea's moves to improve relations with South Korea and the international community. VOA's Alisha Ryu has the details from our Asia News Center. TEXT: The foreign ministers, meeting Wednesday for two days of talks in Miyazaki in southern Japan, are expected to support a landmark agreement reached between North and South Korea during last month's historic summit in Pyongyang. At the June summit, North Korean leader Kim Jong Il and his South Korean counterpart Kim Dae-jung agreed to work toward reunification by, among other things, allowing some families separated since the Korean War to reunite. The ministers say they will formally embrace the plan, which they believe will help reduce tension on the Korean peninsula. According to a senior Japanese foreign ministry official, part of the talks will also focus on how the industrialized nations can best respond to communist North Korea's recent efforts to restore ties with the outside world after decades of political and economic isolation. In addition to meeting South Korean president Kim in June, North Korea established diplomatic relations with Australia in May and with Italy in January. North Korean expert Michael Breen in Seoul believes the endorsement of the inter-Korean summit by G-8 nations will create momentum for more North Korean diplomatic contacts in the future. /// BREEN ACTUALITY /// This is very good news. The idea of talking to North Korea when North Korea was refusing to talk to South Korea always made the allies uncomfortable. Now that North-South relationship is leading the process, I think it is making everyone feel more comfortable. /// END ACTUALITY /// Based on the foreign ministers' talks, the G-8 leaders are expected to issue a special statement on the state of affairs on the Korean Peninsula at next week's summit on the island of Okinawa. (Signed) NEB/HK/AR/JO NEB/ 11-Jul-2000 08:37 AM EDT (11-Jul-2000 1237 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .
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