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N.K. on the fast track of diplomacy

Posted July. 15, 2000 14:15,   


Riding on the momentum of the inter-Korean Summit, North Korea is racing to establish an amicable diplomacy with various states in the international community.

During the upcoming ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) scheduled to be held in Bangkok, Thailand, North Korea has hinted at making it an opportunity for first-ever ministerial-level talks with the United States and Japan. Should such talks materialize, the normalization of relationships between N.K and U.S. as well as N.K. and Japan may be placed on a fast track. North Korea has also revealed their intention of forming amicable ties with Canada through high-level talks.

An official source in the U.S. has commented on the 13th that details are being worked on to bring North Korea`s Minster of Foreign Affairs Baik Nam-Soon and U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright together for talks while the ARF is held in Bangkok. To handle the details of the meeting of two state representatives, U.S. Special Envoy for Korean Affairs Charles Kartman and N.K. Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Kim Kae-Kwan have agreed to come together.

Should the meeting take place, many analysts predict the talks will center around issues concerning the threat of N.K. nuclear and missile development, the lifting of sanctions currently imposed on N.K., and the return of the remnants of U.S. soldiers missing in action in the North, among other pending issues. Also, many expect the talks to resolve the current deadlock on the possibility of high ranking North Korean official visit to Washington D.C.

Japan has also sent a communiqu?to the North stating their wish for a high-level talk between the North and Japan`s (Foreign Affairs Minister Yohei Kono). It has been revealed that North Korea has responded positively to such suggestion. Japan`s Prime Minister Mori Yoshiro stated that while the details have not yet been finalized, the fact that the two states can come together for such bi-lateral talks places a great hope for the improved relationship. Should the talks materialize for Japan and North Korea, many expect Japan to aggressively pursue normalization of the Japan-North Korean relationship will lay open the proposed policy which will be up for adoption at the upcoming G-8 summit in Okinawa. The Japanese government is currently also searching for ways to deliver a personal letter of Prime Minister Mori to North Korea.

Meanwhile, Canada`s Foreign Affairs Minister Lloyd Axworthy has announced on the 13th that the talks between North Korea and Canada has been on-going and that they would make it an occasion during the ARF to meet with Minister Baik in order to finalize the talks.

Canada`s Foreign Affairs Minister Axworthy made the statement through the phone while at the meeting of Ministers during the G-8 summit in Miyazaki, Japan. He further stated that a Canadian envoy has already departed for North Korea and is currently in North Korea.