US raps trial prospect of Seoul opposition figure

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The United States expressed concern Monday over reports that South Korea may soon try opposition leader Kim Dae Jung. "We have seen the quite sweeping charges against Kim Dae Jung. Those charges seem to be pretty farfetched," a State Department spokesman, David Passage, said. "Some of the others hardly amount to anything more than the charge that Kim Dae Jung was campaigning to be president."

The spokesman said the US had repeatedly urged South Korea that anyone charged be given access to legal counsel and to his family and that trials be fair and open to outside observers.

Mr. Passage's remarks signated fresh US concern over South Korean intentions, US officials said.

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