- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 19, 2001

SEOUL President Kim Dae-jung said agreements reached yesterday by South and North Korean negotiators had "special meaning" because of the terrorist attacks in the United States.
The first talks between the two Koreas after six months of suspended contacts yielded plans for another reunion of separated family members, many of whom have not seen each other since the 1950-53 Korean War.
The deal marked the revival of reconciliation efforts that offer the best hope yet for peace after a half-century of conflict. The fragile process had come to a virtual standstill because of tension between North Korea and the United States.
"I endow special meaning to this," presidential spokesman Oh Hong-keun quoted Mr. Kim as saying after the talks. "We have upheld peace and showed cooperation and exchanges on the Korean Peninsula, which is most sensitive to security issues, at a time when the world is being drawn into war."
South Korea, where 37,000 American troops are deployed as a deterrent against North Korea, has pledged support for any U.S. plans to retaliate against suspected terrorists.
North Korea condemned the attacks in New York and Washington, but apparently did not agree to Mr. Kim's appeal to issue a joint statement against terrorism at the talks in Seoul.
North Korea is on a U.S. list of nations that sponsor terrorism, although it has not been implicated in a terrorist act since the 1987 bombing of a South Korean jetliner near Burma that killed all 115 persons on board.
The North's KCNA news agency yesterday reiterated the communist country's demand that U.S. troops withdraw from South Korea, citing "U.S. imperialists' ambition for world domination."
North and South negotiators said the next round of family reunions would be held Oct. 16-18. The meetings were expected to involve about 100 people from each side.
After a historic summit last year, the Koreas staged three rounds of temporary reunions for 300 separated family members from each side.
The inter-Korean border is sealed and there is no mail, telephone and other direct means of communications for ordinary people on both sides.
Cabinet-level negotiators also said the Koreas would work to reconnect a cross-border railway after their armed forces agree on construction operations inside the Demilitarized Zone. It said the work would be done "at the earliest possible date."

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