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SEOUL, South Korea--President Roh Tae-woo this morning called for an end to Cold War on the Korean peninsula and proposed unrestricted travel between communist North Korea and South Korea.
Time has Come
"The time has come to end total division," Roh said in a major nation-wide radio and television broadcast. Korea must not remain the world's only land still partitioned by Cold War politics."
Acceptance by North Korea would open the peninsula for the first time since 1945 and set the stage for national unification.
Roh noted in the speech that President Kim II Sung of North Korea proposed conditional free travel on Jan. 1, and said, "I am convinced there will be no obstacle."
Roh said South Korea would open its border at Panmunjom in the Demilitarized Zone for five days as of Aug. 13 and "accept breathren from the North without restrictions."
Roh said North Koreans would be allowed to freely visit any place in the South and meet anyone they want. He challenged North Korea to offer the same provisions to South Koreans.
He said that "in the near future" foreigners would be permitted to freely travel across the border, a move which might allow tourists and could be expected to speed up the easing of tensions between the Koreas.
"A tide of openness and reconciliation has torn away the Iron Curtain separating the East and the West and is now shaping a new world in which nations are cooperating with each other regardless of differences in ideology and political systems," he said.
Roh's Cabinet will meet Saturday to review proceedures for allowing travel to take place. South Korean law now maks it a violation of national security to visit North Korea without government permission, which has been rarely given.
The Korean peninsula was divided into communist North and capitalist South in 1945 at the end of World War II. The two fought a bitter three-year civil and ideological war in the early 1950s and have remained hostile.
"The fact that compatriots in the South and North are still unable to visit each other is a shame on us who are a proud people with a rich cultural heritage that has evolved over many millenniums. Such a state of affairs should not continue any longer," he said.
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