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2 Kims discussed nuclear, missile issues in summit talks.

SEOUL, June 15 Kyodo

South Korean President Kim Dae Jung said Thursday he discussed North Korea's nuclear and long-range missile programs with North Korean leader Kim Jong Il during talks at the landmark inter-Korean summit in Pyongyang this week.

In a statement he made upon arriving in Seoul, the president said, "I had a lot of talks with Chairman Kim. We talked about nuclear and missile problems, and U.S. troops stationed in (South) Korea and (South Korea's) National Security Law."

On Thursday, the president completed a successful visit to Pyongyang, where the two Koreas on Wednesday signed a declaration calling for eventual reunification of the peninsula, family reunions and economic cooperation. Kim arrived in Seoul at 5:24 p.m.

However, the president did not elaborate on summit details regarding nuclear and missile threats.

In August 1998, North Korea launched a multistage rocket that passed over Japan and crashed into the Pacific Ocean. Pyongyang claimed it was putting a satellite into orbit, but Japan maintained it was test-firing a long-range missile.

Before the president left for Pyongyang, the U.S. and Japan reportedly expressed hopes that issues such as North Korea's nuclear and missile programs would be taken up in the summit discussions.

North Korea has repeatedly demanded the withdrawal of the 37,000 U.S. troops stationed in South Korea and the repeal of South Korea's anticommunist National Security Law as preconditions for improving relations with the South.

In Thursday's statement, the president said, "We have reached a turning point where we can put an end to 55 years of division and hostilities."

The president also called for "patience and sincerity" in efforts to improve relations with North Korea. "Everything is just at the beginning and we just saw a possibility," he said.
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Publication:Asian Political News
Date:Jun 19, 2000
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