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Albright to visit Pyongyang Oct. 23

Posted October. 19, 2000 20:43,   


The U.S. State Department announced Wednesday that Secretary of State Madeleine Albright will pay an official visit to North Korea Oct. 23-25. She will meet with the North's National Defense Commission Chairman Kim Jong-Il and several other senior North Korean officials, and then stop over in Seoul on Oct. 25 on her way home.

Albright plans to discuss with North Korean officials key issues pending between the two countries, including preparations for President Bill Clinton's proposed visit to North Korea in November and Pyongyang's missile development. The secretary is reported to be carrying a personal letter from Clinton to North Korean strongman Kim. Clinton's visit to North Korea was negotiated when Vice Marshal Jo Myong-Rok, the first vice chairman of the National Defense Commission, visited Washington. But it is likely to come much earlier than expected, signaling early normalization of Washington-Pyongyang ties, diplomatic sources here said.

Sources in Washington said that the U.S. Secretary of State would have talks with several key leaders of the North Korean regime, like Jo Myong-Rok, Supreme People's Assembly Presidium Chairman Kim Young-Nam and Foreign Minister Paek Nam-Sun in addition to Kim Jong-Il.

She will be accompanied by a number of American officials in charge of Korean affairs including Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Stanley Ross, coordinator of North Korea policy Wendy Sherman, special envoy in charge of Korean peace Charles Kartman and Korea desk chief at the State Department Edward Dong.

Albright will be in Seoul on Oct. 25 to pay a courtesy call on President Kim Dae-Jung and hold a trilateral conference with foreign ministers of South Korea and Japan to work out common strategies to deal with North Korea on the basis of Albright's meetings with North Korean officials.