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DATE=9/4/2000
TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
TITLE=KOREAN PRISONERS (L-ONLY)
NUMBER=2-266120
BYLINE=ANDREW WOOD
DATELINE=SEOUL
CONTENT=
VOICED AT:
INTRO: South Korean President Kim Dae-jung says 
he believes there are up to 800 South Koreans 
being held in neighboring North Korea and that 
many of them may have been there since the Korean 
War of the 1950's. The statement comes at time 
when relations between the two Korea's are 
improving.  Andrew Wood reports from the South 
Korean capital, Seoul.
TEXT: In a nationwide television address, 
President Kim said North Korea is holding South 
Koreans against their will.  Mr. Kim said about 
half of them are prisoners of war captured 
between 1950 and 1953. 
Mr. Kim says the rest of the South Koreans being 
held are fishermen and people abducted by the 
North.  His comments come at a sensitive time. 
For the past two-and-a-half years, Mr. Kim has 
tried to lure the North Korea out of its 
isolation with what he calls a "sunshine policy" 
of engagement -- with some success. It led to his 
historic summit in June with the leader of North 
Korea, Kim Jong-il. 
Last month, some elderly Koreans from North and 
South crossed the heavily fortified and sealed 
border to meet relatives they had not seen for up 
to half a century. And, in recent days, South 
Korea allowed 63 people convicted of spying for 
or supporting Pyongyang to return home. 
But critics in South Korea say President Kim is 
giving away too much, too soon. They say he 
should have driven a harder bargain with the 
North. North Korea has long denied its holding 
any South Koreans.  When similar claims were made 
by the Japanese, some years ago, North Koreans 
walked out of talks aimed at establishing 
diplomatic relations between Pyongyang and Tokyo.
President Kim's statement on imprisoned South 
Koreans may signal a tougher negotiating stance. 
North Korea needs help for its famine-stricken 
economy. The pressure may be increasing for it 
make more concessions.
NEB/HK/AW/GC/WD
04-Sep-2000 07:59 AM LOC (04-Sep-2000 1159 UTC)
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Source: Voice of America
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