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Monday, 23 October, 2000, 14:38 GMT 15:38 UK
Seoul searching over Albright's visit
Public TV in Seoul railway station
Mrs Albright's historic visit is big news in South Korea
There has been a mixed response in South Korea to the US Secretary of State's visit to Pyongyang.

While the government has officially welcomed Mrs Albright's landmark trip, critics fear that North Korea may now sideline further progress aimed at its rapprochement with the South, concentrating instead on improving its ties with the United States.

South Korean president Kim Dae-jung has welcomed Mrs Albright's visit to the North, saying that it can only help in efforts to reduce tensions on the Korean peninsula.

Speaking to officials of his Millennium Democratic Party, President Kim said that better relations between Pyongyang and Washington would act as a spur to the peace process.

Southern discomfort

The president won this year's Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to engage the isolationist North and try to end half a century of Cold War hostilities.

President Kim Dae-jung
President Kim Dae-jung says the visit is good for relations on the Korean Peninsula
He has consistently encouraged other countries to begin dialogue with the North.

Mrs Albright's visit has been headline television news in the South.

But many South Koreans are worried that Seoul may now be less of a priority for Pyongyang as it works to improve relations with the US.

Late cancellation

They point out that inter-Korean economic talks, due to take place last week, were cancelled without explanation and that the North also appears to be stalling on a second round of planned reunions of separated families.

Those reunions are due to take place in early November. But many fear they won't go ahead, as the North has not responded to counterparts in the South trying to arrange the meetings.

South Korean officials have brushed these concerns aside, saying they believe the delays are simply due to the North's lack of trained manpower, making it hard to cope with several major diplomatic initiatives at the same time.

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See also:

23 Oct 00 | Asia-Pacific
Albright begins North Korea talks
23 Oct 00 | Asia-Pacific
In pictures: Mrs Albright's visit
19 Oct 00 | Asia-Pacific
UK and North Korea forge ties
13 Oct 00 | Asia-Pacific
Kim Dae-jung: Korean peacemaker
12 Jun 00 | Asia-Pacific
North Korea: A military threat?
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