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North Korea Attacks U.S. for Concrete Wall in South

February 3, 1990

PANMUNJOM, Korea (AP) _ North Korea said Friday that the United States encouraged South Korea politically and financially to build a concrete wall to bar free travel between the two Koreas and perpetuate national division.

At the 454th Military Armistice Commission meeting, North Korean Army Maj. Gen. Choe Ui Ung showed a videotape and photographs he said proved the wall existed. He demanded it be ″pulled down without delay to ensure free travel and open doors full-scale.″

South Korea says the wall is actually a series of cement tank traps and bunkers.

U.S. Navy Rear Adm. Larry G. Vogt, chief United Nations Command delegate to the armistice commission, refused to discuss the issue, saying the structure was built outside the demilitarized zone and not within the scope of the commission.

At the two-hour meeting in this truce village, Vogt said the North was trying to ″mislead the world public into thinking that the South is solely responsible for a lack of free travel″ across the border. He said the North should take its grievances up directly with South Korea.

Choe said the barrier was erected south of the 150-mile-long military demarcation line at U.S. instigation. He said Washington gave ″massive funds″ to Seoul in 1978 and 1979 to finance its construction to prolong Korean division and block unification of the two Koreas, split since 1945.

The demarcation line divides the 2 1/2 -mile-wide DMZ into the communist- cont rolled northern side and U.N. commission-controlled southern side.

Vogt showed a videotape of alleged North Korean barriers, some of which he said were built inside the DMZ in violation of the Korean Armistice Agreement which ended the Korean War in 1953. Choe did not comment.

Vogt proposed that a joint observer team should visit both sides to settle the dispute.

S-02-02-90 2332EST

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