- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 14, 2002

From combined dispatches
SEOUL The two Koreas agreed at high-level talks this week to hold new negotiations to organize family reunions and economic cooperation, YTN television news said early today.
The report, which gave no source, said negotiators from the North and South agreed to hold Red Cross talks on Sept. 15 to organize new reunions of families kept apart since the 1950-53 Korean War.
It added that economic-cooperation talks would be held from Aug. 26 to Aug. 28.
Officials could not confirm the report.
Meanwhile, the two sides delayed by several hours their third and final day of high-level talks today, a sign aides were battling to narrow differences on when to hold military meetings before issuing a joint statement.
South Korean Unification Minister Jeong Se-hyun and North Korean Cabinet member Kim Ryong-song had been scheduled to start their talks at 9 a.m. Korea time at a hotel in central Seoul and to issue a statement afterward.
"We are not sure when the last meeting will start," a Unification Ministry spokesman told Reuters. "The two sides have not yet reached an agreement, so today's schedule will be delayed overall."
A South Korean Unification Ministry official said the heads of the delegations had not yet started their final meeting and hinted that the reported new talks were not certain.
The North Korean delegation is due to return to Pyongyang today.
In an apparently unrelated development, the presidential Blue House in Seoul announced that ailing South Korean President Kim Dae-jung will not be able to make a planned keynote speech at tomorrow's independence day celebration.
The Blue House said Mr. Kim, who is 77, was being treated for pneumonia and was attending to duties as normal.
But a presidential aide told Reuters Mr. Kim was resting today and would not make the speech marking the anniversary of liberation from Japanese colonial rule in 1945. Acting Prime Minister Chang Dae-whan will read the speech on his behalf.
Earlier yesterday, the two sides predicted a successful outcome of their first Cabinet-level talks in nine months.
Negotiators from North Korea and South Korea reached an agreement and invited their aides to draft a joint statement, the North's official Korean Central News Agency, or KCNA, reported.


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