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US, NK hold first high-level talks

Posted July. 28, 2000 19:35,   


North Korean Foreign Minister Paek Nam-Soon and U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright met for the first time at the Shangri-la Hotel in Bangkok at 2:45 this afternoon and discussed the North`s missile program for twenty minutes.

The officials reconfirmed the need to normalize relations between their two countries. However, efforts to narrow their differences over Pyongyang`s missile and nuclear programs and U.S. economic sanctions against North Korea made little headway.

Albright and Paek agreed to hold a ministerial meeting in the near future to improve bilateral relations. They also discussed the possibility of setting up a meeting of high-level officials from both sides at the United Nations Millenium summit in New York in September.

Paek is expected to ask the U.S. to lift economic sanctions on the North and compensate for the delay in the construction of light-water reactors.

Albright requested confirmation of North Korean Chairman Kim Jong-Il`s statement to Russian leader Vladimir Putin that the North is willing to abandon its missile program under certain conditions, but Paek refused to elaborate on the matter.

South Korean Foreign Minister Lee Young-Bin and U.S. Secretary Albright held a separate meeting to reconfirm U.S. support for Seoul`s North Korea policies and discuss the revision of the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA).