South Korea Lifts Trade Ban On Communist North Korea

SOUTH Korean President Kim Young Sam lifted a half-century ban yesterday on direct trade and investment in North Korea, the South's Communist archrival.

``The time has come to sincerely study and push South-North economic cooperation,'' Mr. Kim said in a speech televised live nationwide.

For years, South Korea had said it could improve economic and political relations with the North only after the nuclear standoff was resolved by a verifiable agreement.

That happened Oct. 21 when the United States and North Korea signed an accord requiring North Korea to dismantle its nuclear facilities, suspected of developing bombs, in exchange for billions of dollars in aid and diplomatic relations with the US.

South Korea banned direct trade with the North after World War II left the peninsula divided in 1945. Indirect trade through Hong Kong and other third countries has long been conducted, however, soaring from $1 million in 1983 to $232 million in the first eight months of 1994.

Angolan treaty cracks at Army offensive

THE Angolan government declared a military victory yesterday, announcing that its soldiers had overrun rebel headquarters in central Angola in an offensive that jeopardizes a negotiated settlement for the 19-year-old civil war.

Soldiers smashed through rebel defense lines around Huambo, 330 miles southeast of the capital of Luanda, said Army spokesman Brig. Jose Manuel Jota. ``The UNITA leadership has fled Huambo. Government troops are now in the center of the city and advancing,'' he said.

But the government's claim could not be verified. Aid sources in Huambo reported yesterday that the main body of government troops was still six miles from the stronghold for the rebel National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA).

``The war will continue. The government has just plunged Angola into a long and ferocious war,'' Anibal Kandeya, UNITA's London representative, told The Associated Press.

Mr. Kandeya insisted the rebels still controlled the city they had captured more than a year ago.

The rebels said they would tear up a UN-negotiated treaty agreed to last Monday if the government did not immediately halt its offensive.

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