Koreas agree to 'cooperation' accord Talks show progress

draft to be written

October 25, 1991|By New York Times News Service

SEOUL, South Korea -- Dropping some of their extreme demands, the prime ministers of North and South Korea achieved the first modest progress yesterday in their series of talks when they agreed to try to negotiate one comprehensive accord to ease tensions.

The main point of yesterday's accord was that the two sides agreed to work on producing one comprehensive document on "reconciliation, non-aggression, exchange and cooperation," addressing all outstanding issues.

Until now, the North had insisted on concluding a non-aggression pact before considering any other accords. South Korea, fearing that Pyongyang only wanted an agreement it could use to support its demand for the expulsion of U.S. troops from the South, wanted instead a"basic agreement" on trade, communications and other measures recognizing its legitimacy.

The main step forward appeared to be North Korea's abandonment of a demand for an immediate severing of South Korea's alliance with the United States as a condition for improvement of relations.

But the North's position was still seen as requiring that any agreement be accompanied by an effective severing of South Korean-U.S. ties. It is unlikely that Seoul would agree to such a step.

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