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INTRO:  U-S Secretary of State Madeleine Albright says 
American troops should stay in South Korea to assure 
the stability of the region.  Ms. Albright was 
speaking after holding talks with South Korean leaders 
in Seoul.  As Hyun-Sung Khang reports from the South 
Korean capital, the secretary of state has been 
assessing the apparent change in the direction of the 
North Korean leadership.
TEXT:  Following meetings with the South Korean 
President, Kim Dae Jung, and the country's foreign 
minister, Ms Albright said it is clear that the 
continued presence of American forces is important for 
stability in the region.  Her comments follow the 
unprecedented summit held earlier this month between 
the leaders of the two Koreas.
Ms. Albright says that while the summit was hopeful, 
there is still no resolution to North Korea's 
continuing ballistic missile and nuclear programs.  
She added that therefore, it is inappropriate to talk 
about withdrawing U-S troops.
The continued presence of U-S forces was underlined by 
the South Korean foreign minister, Lee Joung-Binn, who 
said the South Korean president had made it clear to 
the North's leader, the importance of the 37-thousand 
American troops currently stationed in the South.
While the secretary of state ruled out the withdrawal 
of U-S troops on the peninsula, she held out the 
possibility of a meeting with North Korea's foreign 
minister at the Association of Southeast Asian 
Nations' Regional Forum, scheduled in Bangkok next 
Ms. Albright said the United States is looking forward 
to new talks with Pyongyang about its missile program, 
but did not announce when these might take place.  
North Korea suspended the talks 15 months ago.
North Korea shook the region two years ago by firing a 
ballistic missile over Japan.  But earlier this week, 
it promised to maintain a moratorium on ballistic 
missile launches it first announced last September.
The secretary of state visited Seoul to assess the 
apparent change in direction by the North Korean 
leadership, which is showing signs that it may be 
ready to open up to the rest of the world.  The United 
States has responded by easing economic sanctions 
against Pyongyang, but North Korea still remains on 
Washington's list of countries that sponsor terrorism.   
23-Jun-2000 10:44 AM EDT (23-Jun-2000 1444 UTC)
Source: Voice of America

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