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Kim to Push Family Reunions, Drops Talk of Peace Statement

Mar 27,2001

Hosting his first cabinet meeting with nine freshly-named ministers aboard from Monday's reshuffle, President Kim Dae-jung on Tuesday said that he will regularize reunions of separated Korean families and a variety of cultural exchanges when he meets with North Korean leader, Kim Jong-il, at the hoped-for second summit.

"At the second summit in Seoul, we will work to put on a regular footing the reunions of separated families and cultural exchanges with Pyongyang," Mr. Kim said.

The president, who had stressed previously that he would push at the second summit for signing either a peace declaration or a peace treaty with North Korea, made no mention of those plans this time.

Indicating that he will exercise firmer control over state affairs, Mr. Kim said that he will operate the cabinet on a team basis, meeting weekly with teams representing the economy, foreign affairs and national security, human resources and social issues.

He will also meet individually for about 20 minutes with the new ministers for three days from April 2 through 4. A presidential aide said that these interviews are intended to strengthen coordination with the new ministers.

But political observers said that the move reflects Mr. Kim's wish to wield a firm hand over the direction and conduct of state affairs for the second half of the president's five-year tenure.

Leading the economic team is Deputy Prime Minister Jin Nyum. Most of the ministers in this group were retained.




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