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World - Asia/Pacific

Two Koreas meet on soccer field as engagement grows

The soccer match was part of a series of events to celebrate the 54th anniversary of Korea's liberation from Japan

CNN's Mike Chinoy went to the soccer match
Windows Media 28K 80K
North Korea: new beginning?


August 12, 1999
Web posted at: 10:57 a.m. EDT (1457 GMT)

From Correspondent Mike Chinoy

PYONGYANG, North Korea (CNN) -- North Korea beat South Korea 5-4 on Thursday in a trade unionists soccer match that observers say is one of many signs of new engagement between the two countries.

Union teams from both nations on the divided peninsula played in a driving rain, part of a complex diplomatic game that has veered from trading gunfire in the Yellow Sea to trading corner kicks in Pyongyang. The match was part of a series of events between the two Koreas to celebrate the 54th anniversary of Korea's liberation from Japan at the end of World War II.

The border between them remains among the most heavily fortified on the globe, with each army -- plus 37,000 U.S. troops in South Korea -- facing off across the cease-fire line from the 1950-53 Korean War. No formal peace has been reached since then.

But the anniversary and its observances offer signs that the two countries are opening up to each other after a half- century of stalemate. North Korea, ravaged by famine, needs international aid and investment. South Korea wants long-term reforms in the Stalinist north.

But so far, South Korea's policy of "sunshine diplomacy" has brought few concessions from North Korea.

North Korea tested a long-range missile last year, firing it over Japan, and it is believed to have an updated version -- perhaps capable of hitting parts of the United States -- ready for testing.

Washington, Tokyo and Seoul have warned Pyongyang not to engage in further tests. Japan's Foreign Minister Masahiko Komura said on Sunday that Japan could cut off its aid to North Korea if the tests go forward.

North Korea brings Japan war atrocities into diplomatic row
August 11, 1999
North Korea marks death of founder Kim Il Sung
July 8, 1999
North Korea meets with U.S., to meet with South Korea
June 24, 1999

North Korea: Information
Korea Government Homepage
North Korea Report
North Korea: Politics & Government
Korean Embassy, Washington DC
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