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Talks to end doctors' strike possible after Chuseok

Posted September. 08, 2000 18:57,   


The proposed talks between representatives of the government and the medical community are likely to take place only after the Chuseok holiday, as the government side is not yet ready to accept doctors` demands for the release of their detained colleagues.

The Ministry of Health and Welfare reported on September 8 that Minister Choi Sun-Jung met informally with a group of 10 representatives of the Korean Medical Association (KMA) at the KMA Building the night before to exchange opinions on the KMA`s demands, but the two sides failed to reach an agreement.

The KMA officials said they were not in a position to enter into an official dialogue with the government because it refused to alter its stance on the release of the detained doctors who masterminded the ongoing doctors` strike, remove other activist physicians from the wanted list and guarantee an apology by police authorities for manhandling doctors when they

confronted riot police at Yonsei University during a demonstration.

Failure to settle the differences through the behind-the-scenes contact will put off attempts at breaking the impasse in the prolonged medical conflict until after the Chuseok holiday season next week. A threatening new wave of closures of hospitals and clinics may therefore be most likely as scheduled on September 15.

Song Sang-Keun songmoon@donga.com