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Clinton to visit Pyongyang this year

Posted October. 12, 2000 21:21,   


With Secretary of State Madeleine Albright's visit to Pyongyang confirmed and possibility raised for President Bill Clinton's visit to the North within the year, relationship between the two countries are rapidly moving toward diplomatic rapprochement.

The USA Today reported Thursday that Secretary Albright is scheduled to visit North Korean late this month in order to prepare for a summit between President Clinton and North Korean Defense Commission Chairman Kim Jong-Il.

The paper said that Clinton will visit the North by the end of this year.

Earlier, Wednesday, Secretary Albright said in a dinner hosted by Jo Myong-Rok, first vice chairman of the North Korean defense commission, that she would visit Pyongyang, adding that she was anxious to meet with the North Korean leader Kim.

She stressed that President Clinton is desirous to work with Defense Commission Chairman Kim. There are no incumbent U. S. presidents or secretaries of states, who have visited North Korea.

Meanwhile, after a series of meetings between the visiting Jo and President Clinton, Albright and Defense Secretary William Cohen, the countries issued a joint statement Thursday, saying that the two sides will liquidate the hostile relationship and promote diplomatic normalization.

During their talks, the two sides agreed to establish representative offices in each other capital and continue to discuss problems related to the setup of the liaison offices with Wendy Sherman, State Department coordinator on U. S. policy for North Korea, and Kang Sok-Ju, North Korean vice foreign minister, as chief negotiators, respectively.

North Korea has postponed its missile test-firing indefinitely and the two sides agreed to discuss the issue of the North's abandonment of its missile development program in return for the international aid for launching a satellite for the North.

The two sides concurred on the U. S. removal of North Korea from the list of terrorism sponsoring states, and the two decided to discuss the matter in details, when the state secretary visits the North.

During the Wednesday dinner, Jo said in a speech that Defense Commission Chairman Kim is desirous of eliminating confrontation and distrust with the U. S. and expecting for President Clinton to join the forces in this undertaking. He was returning to Pyongyang in the Thursday morning.