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DATE=9/1/2000
TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
TITLE=KOREAS - SPY REPATRIATION (L)
NUMBER=2-266043
BYLINE=ALISHA RYU
DATELINE=HONG KONG
CONTENT=
VOICED AT:
INTRO: As part of the landmark summit accord reached 
between the two Koreas in June, South Korea on 
Saturday will return North Koreans convicted years ago 
for spying for the communist North.  But as VOA's 
Alisha Ryu reports, many in the South are criticizing 
the Seoul government for failing to secure the return 
of South Korean prisoners of war and detainees in 
return.    
TEXT:  Sixty-three elderly North Koreans are scheduled 
to cross the heavily fortified border Saturday to 
return to homes they have not seen in decades.  Among 
the men - who have served an average of 36 years in 
South Korean prisons for spying activities - is 70 
year-old Woo Yong Gak - freed last year after spending 
41 years in solitary confinement.  He was considered 
the world's longest-serving political prisoner. 
But the homecoming will be a bittersweet occasion for 
some of the former prisoners.  They are forced to 
leave behind their wives and children in South Korea.  
About 20 North Koreans offered repatriation have 
chosen to remain in the South with their families.  
In Seoul, the move to repatriate North Koreans is 
raising angry questions about the fate of South 
Koreans believed to be living in North Korea against 
their will.  
Demanding a matching gesture by Pyongyang, opposition 
party members are calling for an immediate return of 
some three hundred prisoners of war and more than four 
hundred South Korean citizens North Korea abducted 
over the past five decades of Cold War hostility.  The 
majority of these victims were fishermen who strayed 
across the contested sea border.  The Seoul government 
says some of its kidnapped citizens have been spotted 
in recent years appearing on North Korean propaganda 
broadcasts.
The issue of repatriating South Koreans has reportedly 
been raised during the second round of ministerial-
level talks in Pyongyang due to conclude Friday. But 
it is not known how North Korea has responded. 
South Korea expects its repatriation gesture to lead 
to more cooperation and eventual reconciliation 
between the two sides.  North and South Korea did not 
sign a peace treaty at the end of the Korean War in 
1953 and still remain technically at war.  (Signed)
NEB/HK/AR/GC/PLM   
   
NEB/ 
01-Sep-2000 06:36 AM EDT (01-Sep-2000 1036 UTC)
NNNN
Source: Voice of America
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