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Korea, U.S. fail to reach agreement on Nogun-ri incident

Korea, U.S. fail to reach agreement on Nogun-ri incident

Posted December. 07, 2000 20:18,   


South Korea and the United States failed to produce a joint statement on the ¡°Nogun-ri massacre¡± Thursday due to persistent differences on major points of contention.

The two sides could not reach an agreement after 16 hours of negotiations at the War Memorial of Korea in Yongsan. They will meet again this year in the United States.

¡°We managed to narrow our differences on a considerable number of issues, but failed to reach a final agreement for the joint statement,¡± said South Korean chief delegate Kim Byoung-Ho, assistant minister for public policy coordination at the Office of Prime Minister.

¡°The two sides agreed to hold a second meeting in the U.S. before the end of this year and to announce an agreement before U.S. President Bill Clinton ends his term of office in January,¡± he added.

Kim declined to give details of the two sides¡¯ positions on such core questions as whether the shooting was deliberate, whether there were orders given to shoot and whether the victims were killed with rifles or machine guns.

During the Seoul meeting, the U.S. side admitted that U.S. soldiers threatened the unarmed Korean refugees and fired on them, but said it was not confirmed whether U.S. troops were ordered to shoot.

The Korean side maintained that since the Nogun-ri incident involved the killing of Korean civilians by American soldiers, the U.S. government should apologize and compensate the victims or their relatives. Delegates from the two sides were said to have engaged in fierce verbal battle due to the immovability of the Korean side.

Ha Tae-Won scooop@donga.com