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Summit crisis rumored, recanted

Posted July. 21, 2000 11:50,   


A mini crisis may have occurred at last month¡¯s North-South summit.

"During the inter-Korean summit last month, the North`s leader, Kim Jong-Il, at one point requested that the talks be broken off and that President Kim Dae-Jung return to the South," Hwang Won-Tak, Chong Wa Dae`s senior aide for security on diplomatic affairs, said July 20 that.

However, shortly thereafter, the senior aide flip-flopped and denied that the incident occurred.

Hwang described the incident during a speech sponsored by the Central Coalition of Associations of People from the North.

"The North`s leader, Kim Jong-Il, prior to the second meeting by the two leaders, protested to President Kim: `It appears that South Korea`s media has broadcast that university students in the South have installed satellite dishes and that prosecutors have threatened legal action. How could such things be?`

Hwang further claimed that the North`s leader said to President Kim: "How could the students do such a thing while you are here for the summit? All members of your entourage have South Korean flags on your persons, yet we have not made an issue of it. We have given you the warmest welcome. I feel it would be best if you took a rest today and returned to the South. It is a great achievement that we have even met. As it is an accomplishment enough, let us say farewell."

However, Hwang recanted during a press conference in the afternoon.

"Although I may have made such statements, I did so for the purpose of making my speech interesting,¡± he said. ¡°Perhaps it was a mistake. It would be untrue to say that the North`s leader had asked President Kim to return to the South."