North Korea Backs Off

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BEIJING: Signs increased Tuesday that the war of nerves between North and South Korea over a high-ranking defector is nearly over. Echoing remarks by one of his spokesmen that Hwang may have fled of his own free will, North Korean dictator Kim Il Song grudgingly declared on state radio: "As the revolutionary song says, cowards, if you want to go, then go away. We will defend the red flag of revolution to the end." South Korean Prime Minister Lee Soo-sung told parliament his government was negotiating to have Hwang depart Beijing for Seoul as soon as possible. Letting him leave would also be a timely gesture of good will on China's part, since Secretary of Albright is arriving next Tuesday.