USIS Washington 

22 October 1998


(North, South Korea, U.S., China meet for second day)  (350)

By Wendy Lubetkin

USIA European Correspondent

Geneva -- On the second day of peace talks between North and South
Korea in Geneva, the head of the U.S. delegation expressed optimism
that the current round will conclude with an agreement on the
formation of two subcommittees: one on replacing the Armistice with a
peace arrangement, and the other on confidence-building measures to
reduce tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

Ambassador Charles Kartman, the U.S. Special Envoy for Korean Peace
Talks, said October 22 "I feel rather optimistic that we are going to
come to some sort of agreement by the end of this round of talks."

The participants in the Third Plenary of the Four-Party Talks are
North and South Korea, China and the United States. In accordance with
the established rotation, South Korea is chairing the current plenary,
which is open-ended.

The U.S. has stated that its goals for the talks are the reduction of
tension on the Korean Peninsula and the replacement of the Armistice
with a permanent peace arrangement.

The previous plenary of the Four-Party Talks, held in March 1998,
failed to make any progress after North Korea insisted on U.S. troop
withdrawals from South Korea and a separate peace accord with the
United States.

Kartman said the North Korean position "remains quite firm," but that
"quite a bit of progress has been made in narrowing the differences."

Kartman spoke with journalists outside the Geneva office building
where the talks are being held after the conclusion of a morning
head-of-delegation meeting.

He said additional work to bring the two sides closer together would
be done during the afternoon "in a deputy-head-of-delegation" format.

"We're trying different formats, as you can see. I feel rather
optimistic that we are going to come to some sort of agreement by the
end of this round of talks," Kartman said.