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INTRO:  South Korean President Kim Dae-jung meets 
North Korean leader Kim Jong-il Tuesday at the 
beginning of an historic three-day summit in 
Pyongyang.  V-O-A correspondent Roger Wilkison reports 
the South Korean leader has made reconciliation with 
the isolated North a priority of his administration, 
and he is expected to make a plea for peace between 
the two longtime enemies when he arrives in Pyongyang.
TEXT:  It will be the first-ever summit between the 
top leaders of the two Koreas.  And even though the 
meeting was postponed by one day at North Korea's 
request, South Korean President Kim shrugged off the 
delay by saying the two sides have waited 55 years, so 
one more day does not matter.
Kim Dae-jung is seeking to woo the North out of its 
isolation, hoping to engage it by promising aid and 
investment for its decrepit economy.  His visit comes 
as Kim Jong-il is showing signs of opening up North 
Korea -- albeit slightly-- to the outside world.  
Pyongyang has recently established diplomatic 
relations with Italy, re-established ties with 
Australia and is negotiating with the United States 
and Japan.  Kim Jong-il, who recently made a trip to 
China, will host Russian President Vladimir Putin in 
Pyongyang next month.
Kim Dae-jung is hoping North Korea will agree to 
reunions of families separated by the Korean War, 
which ended in 1953.  He would also like Kim Jong-il 
to visit South Korea and make gestures aimed at 
reducing tension on the peninsula.  But sensitive 
issues may come up at the summit.  One of them is 
North Korea's long-standing demand for the withdrawal 
of U-S troops in South Korea.  Another is U-S, 
Japanese and South Korean concern over North Korea's 
nuclear and missile programs.
Lee Jung-min, a professor of international relations 
at Seoul's Yonsei University, says there is no hope 
for agreement on any of these touchy issues.
                 /// 1st LEE ACT ///
      So you're left with, for example, economic 
      cooperation, separated families, and perhaps 
      some type of minimum contact -- people to people 
      contact -- between North and South Korea.  Other 
      than those three issues, I do not foresee any 
      breakthrough of the sort some people are saying 
      that we will see at the summit.
                  /// END ACT ///
The South Korean government has begun to play down its 
previous expectations for the summit, saying it is 
only the beginning of a long road toward 
reconciliation.  But, at the same time, officials in 
Seoul say the mere fact that the two leaders will be 
photographed shaking hands and smiling will be a 
significant step toward peace on the peninsula.
Some South Koreans question the sincerity of 
Pyongyang's calls for reconciliation, saying all the 
North Koreans want is the economic benefits they would 
get from Kim Dae-jung's proposal to help the North 
rebuild its dilapidated infrastructure.  Yonsei 
University's Professor Lee says South Korea must get 
something in return for its aid.
                /// 2ND LEE ACT ///
      I would say go into the summit with a very open 
      mind but with very limited expectations.  And we 
      also have to realize that, although the 
      government has said we have patience and we can 
      wait until the North Koreans come full circle, 
      there has to be some reciprocity.  You cannot 
      have a relationship that is almost solely 
      unilateral.  You cannot give and give and give 
      and receive nothing in kind.
                  /// END ACT ///
But South Korean officials say Kim Dae-jung believes 
North Korea needs help now more than at any time in 
the past.  Its people are hungry after five years of 
famine, and its factories are paralyzed.  The 
officials say the South Korean leader is confident 
that sooner, rather than later, he will be able to 
persuade the North to make its own efforts to improve 
inter-Korean relations.   (Signed)
12-Jun-2000 07:34 AM EDT (12-Jun-2000 1134 UTC)
Source: Voice of America

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