U.S. Reassures Korea; North Rebuffs: Face-to-Face Meetings in Beijing, Panmunjom Go Nowhere

By Sands, David R. | The Washington Times (Washington, DC), July 3, 1999 | Go to article overview

U.S. Reassures Korea; North Rebuffs: Face-to-Face Meetings in Beijing, Panmunjom Go Nowhere


Sands, David R., The Washington Times (Washington, DC)


South Korean President Kim Dae-jung, in daylong meetings with President Clinton, emphasized the closeness of their bilateral ties against a backdrop of renewed confrontation with Seoul's principal adversary, North Korea.

Two face-to-face meetings with North Korea in the Chinese capital of Beijing this week got nowhere after a boundary dispute in the Yellow Sea led to shooting and a loss of life.

As Mr. Kim discussed the troubled peninsula here, North Korean military officials there warned that "more serious bloodshed will be inevitable" unless South Korean warships pull back from disputed coastal waters in the Yellow Sea.

Meetings in Beijing and along the border dividing the two Koreas broke up yesterday without any progress because of lingering ill will over a June 15 clash that resulted in the sinking of a North Korean gunboat and multiple North Korean deaths.

The South Korean leader said before closed-door talks with Mr. Clinton yesterday that he was "extremely satisfied with the present state of relations between our two countries."

"I do hope that this close cooperation sends a clear message to North Korea," said Mr. Kim.

But in military-to-military talks at the Korean border village of Panmunjom, North Korean Lt. Gen. Ri Chan-bok bluntly warned South Korea to stop "intruding" in the North's waters.

"More serious bloodshed will be inevitable unless [South Korean] army battleships' intrusion into our side's territorial waters is checked," the North Korean general said at a meeting with generals from the U.S.-led U.N. Command at Panmunjom. …

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