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INTRO:  South Korean President Kim Dae-jung says he 
will propose a meeting between the defense ministers 
of South and North Korea to seek ways to reduce 
military tensions on the Korean peninsula.  VOA's 
Alisha Ryu has the details from our Asia News Center.
TEXT:  President Kim says the defense ministers of 
South and North Korea should meet to defuse long-
standing hostility that still divides the two Koreas 
along the world's last and most heavily defended Cold 
War frontier.  He says he also favors establishing a 
military hotline with the communist North as a way to 
improve communication between the two sides.
Addressing the nation Tuesday at a ceremony marking 
the 55th anniversary of Korea's liberation from 
Japanese colonial rule, Mr. Kim said his proposals 
will be discussed with North Korea in the next round 
of ministerial talks scheduled for later this month in 
the North Korean capital, Pyongyang.  He expressed 
hope that inter-Korean committees could be established 
to facilitate military, economic and social and 
cultural cooperation.  
Mr. Kim says that South and North Koreans have much to 
celebrate this Liberation Day.  He says the promise of 
reconciliation, eventual reunification and peace are 
closer at hand following President Kim's historic 
meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Il in June. 
But the South Korean leader says his government 
continues to support the presence of U-S troops in 
South Korea, as an essential player in preserving 
peace on the peninsula and maintaining stability in 
Northeast Asia.  
North and South Korea remain technically at war after 
the Korean War ended in 1953 in an armed truce.  Their 
heavily fortified border is manned by more than one 
million soldiers - including some of the 37-thousand 
US troops in South Korea. (Signed)
15-Aug-2000 03:53 AM LOC (15-Aug-2000 0753 UTC)
Source: Voice of America

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