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Clinton¡¯s visit to Pyongyang not yet confirmed

Posted October. 20, 2000 20:22,   


The State Department said Thursday that President Bill Clinton's visit to North Korea is not yet absolutely certain and important progress in major issues between the United States and North Korea needs to be made before his visit.

During his regular briefing, State Department spokesman Richard Boucher told the press that he would not term Clinton's visit a fait accompli, saying Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, while meeting with North Korean strongman Kim Jong-Il in Pyongyang, will explore important progress in some major issues to clear the way for his trip there.

He did not elaborate on what these preconditions were, and only emphasized that the deepest concerns Washington has are North Korea's missile development and nuclear weapons programs and its record of sponsoring terrorism.

A diplomatic source in Washington said some conservatives in the United States are critical of Clinton's visit to North Korea as there is no assurance of positive results with only a few months remaining in his term of office. Therefore, it reported, the visit has been described as possible only to assuage their misgivings.

If the visit comes to pass, the President will stop over in Seoul to explain the results of his trip and discuss avenues to Korean peace with Korean President Kim Dae-Jung.

Han Ki-Heung eligius@donga.com