Go to contents

U.S., N.K. make headway in talks; normalization of ties eyed soon

U.S., N.K. make headway in talks; normalization of ties eyed soon

Posted October. 24, 2000 19:53,   


United States Secretary of State Madeleine Albright held a second round of talks with North Korea's Kim Jong-Il on Tuesday in Pyongyang. The two sides made considerable progress in resolving issues of major concern, including the North Korean missile and nuclear development programs and the removal of Pyongyang from Washington¡¯s list of terrorist-sponsoring states. With these advances, the two nations are expected to normalize their diplomatic relations in the near future.

In a luncheon for the visiting secretary held by Jo Myong-Rok, first deputy chairman of the Defense Commission, Jo said that the relations between the two countries, which were strained for decades due to the legacies of the Cold War, are now facing a historic thaw. He added that the two nations are on the threshold of diplomatic normalization.

Following the luncheon, Secretary Albright met with North Korean leader Kim for a second time at the Baekhwawon Guesthouse, where she is staying. U. S. officials and reporters accompanying the secretary speculated that in their one-on-one talks, the two sides made major headway in outstanding issues such as the North's missile development program, a major obstacle to bilateral rapprochement, as well as the removal of Pyongyang from the terrorism list and diplomatic normalization.

Kim and Albright are known to have held intensive discussions on the visit to the North by President Bill Clinton, especially on the timing of his historic trip to the former rival nation. There are reports that Clinton may visit the North on Nov. 11, but the White House announced that the date of his North Korean trip would be decided after receiving briefings from Albright.

Following her talks with the North Korean officials, Albright told reporters about the results of her negotiations with the Pyongyang leadership. In the morning, she held meetings with Foreign Minister Paek Nam-Sun at the Foreign Ministry and Kim Yong-Nam, chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly, at the Mansudae Assembly Chamber.

Albright will leave Pyongyang Wednesday morning for Seoul. She is scheduled to pay a courtesy call on President Kim Dae-Jung at Chong Wa Dae and to attend a tripartite meeting of the Korean, U. S. and Japanese foreign ministers.