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INTRO:  South Koreans are euphoric over the unexpected 
warmth shown by North Korea's reclusive leader, Kim 
Jong-il, during Tuesday's historic first meeting with 
South Korean President Kim Dae-jung.  As Alisha Ryu 
reports from VOA's Asia News Center in Hong Kong, the 
summit has South Korea hopeful there may be a 
continuing thaw in relations, which have been marked 
by more than five decades of hostilities.
TEXT:  Millions of South Koreans cheered Tuesday when 
television footage showed a smiling President Kim Dae-
jung arriving in Pyongyang, the North Korean capital.
It was the first time that a democratic leader from 
the South had set foot in Communist North Korea in 55 
years. For many South Koreans, the moment packed 
enough emotion for them to openly weep with joy.
But when South Koreans saw North Korean leader Kim 
Jong-il personally greet President Kim on the tarmac 
and exchange a double handed handshake, journalists on 
the scene say most people were simply speechless. Time 
Magazine's Seoul Correspondent Stella Kim:
It was a moment of disbelief.  The animosities that 
have been building for the past half century cannot 
just dissolve by some announcement of a summit.  But 
when they actually saw two people shaking hands, and 
by the way, you could actually feel the warmth coming 
out of Kim Jong-il, and he was the first one to reach 
out, both arms, to greet President Kim, that was a 
very moving moment.
/// END ACT ///
Ms. Kim says South Koreans interpreted the gesture as 
a genuine sign of willingness to cooperate with South 
Korea, something North Korea had refused to do in the 
Political science professor Lee Doo-won at Yonsei 
University in Seoul agrees the handshake symbolized 
the beginning of a new relationship between the two 
countries, which have remained technically at war 
since the Korean War ended in an armed truce in 1953.
We use double-handed handshake whenever we meet a 
very, very friendly friend or someone respectful and 
definitely, that showed the willingness of Chairman 
Kim Jong-il to cooperate with President Kim Dae-jung 
at the summit.  And based on this optimism, I believe 
we will be able to produce some positive, visible 
/// END ACT ///
Many in South Korea hope the unprecedented summit 
between the two leaders will lead to agreements that 
will open the heavily-defended border to 
transportation and trade, allow separated families to 
reunite, and promote national reconciliation.   
Based on Kim Jong-il's warm attitude toward the South 
Korean president, Professor Lee says the North Korean 
leader could be signaling that anything is now 
Chairman Kim has expressed a lot of his emotions and 
intentions very frankly and in a very straight-forward 
manner in front of President Kim Dae-jung.  You have 
to bear in mind that this is not just normal 
negotiations.  This is a summit.  This time, it is the 
leaders who are at the negotiation table.  So, he 
himself can make any decision right on the spot.  
/// END ACT ///
But journalist Stella Kim says many people remain 
skeptical about North Korea's long-term intentions 
because so little is known about the country and its 
enigmatic leader.  She cautions against reading too 
much into what is said and done during the three-day 
What we may anticipate is peaceful coexistence, 
formally and publicly declared, i.e., we probably will 
have to accept that North Korea will remain a 
communist country for the time being. 
/// END ACT ///
Even President Kim Dae-jung has played down 
expectations for the summit.  Before leaving for 
Pyongyang Tuesday, he said he did not expect to return 
with more than token concessions from the North, 
including a promise by Kim Jon-il to make a reciprocal 
visit to South Korea's capital, Seoul.  
But analysts say given Kim Jong-il's aversion to 
public events and outings, if such a visit were 
promised it would be a huge symbol of further warming 
between the two Cold War enemies.  (Signed)  
14-Jun-2000 07:18 AM LOC (14-Jun-2000 1118 UTC)
Source: Voice of America

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