TITLE=JAPAN - S. KOREA TALKS (L-ONLY)
INTRO: South Korea's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hong
Soon-Young, is in Tokyo as part of a three- pronged
diplomatic effort to stave off the threat of a second
ballistic missile test by North Korea. Tanya Clark
reports from the Japanese capital.
TEXT: Japan and South Korean officials appear to be
moving toward a more coordinated diplomatic effort to
counter the threat of North Korea's ballistic missile
South Korea's Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade,
Hong Soon-Young, is in Tokyo until Tuesday evening to
discuss the North Korean situation with Japanese
government officials, including Prime Minister Keizo
At the same time South Korea has sent out emissaries
to China and the United States, in an attempt to reach
a consensus on how to stop North Korea from firing a
new, more powerful ballistic missile.
South Korea's defense minister, Cho Sung-Tae, is
currently meeting with his counterparts in Beijing and
South Korean Unification Minister, Lim Dong-won, left
Seoul Monday for meetings with officials in the United
A Japanese Foreign Ministry spokesman says at Monday's
meeting between Mr. Hong and Japan's Foreign Minister,
Masahiko Komura, both officials agreed it is hard to
predict North Korea's future action. But the spokesman
says they welcomed what they see as signs from North
Korea that dialogue is possible.
Relations between the Stalinist state and Japan, South
Korea and the United States have been deeply strained
since North Korea launched a ballistic missile one
year ago. The missile flew across Japan, before
landing in the sea. The test stunned Japan and stirred
fears North Korea could launch more.
Signs that North Korea does indeed plan to launch
another missile, this one more advanced than the last,
have intensified diplomatic efforts. The Taepodong
II, as the latest ballistic missile is named, could
have the range to reach as far as Alaska and Hawaii.
The South Korean and Japanese officials also discussed
Japan's support for the Korean Peninsula Energy
Development Organization --KEDO. KEDO was created to
provide North Korea with an alternative power sources
so that it would cut back development of its own
nuclear energy program. It was feared Pyongyang was
using the program to develop nuclear weapons.
After last year's missile test, Japan froze its one
billion dollar contribution to the four point six
billion dollar KEDO program.
According to a Japanese spokesman, South Korea's
Foreign Minster Hong asked Japan to continue a strong
interest in KEDO. The official says Japan's Foreign
Minister Komura responded that he would do so.
23-Aug-1999 06:47 AM EDT (23-Aug-1999 1047 UTC)
Source: Voice of America
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