Go to contents

N. Korea, U.S. missile talks make progress

Posted November. 02, 2000 14:28,   


North Korea and the United State started missiles talks to discuss the suspension of North Korea's long-range missile program in return for the U.S. launch of the North's satellites at the American Embassy in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday morning.

The two sides also discussed the North's suspension of mid- and long-range missile exports and the ensuring question to compensate it.

Serious progress has been made on the question of long-range missiles during the meeting, it was learned. Jung Sung-Il, chief of the disarmament department of the North Korean Foreign Ministry, said that the meeting was held in a very useful, constructive and sincere atmosphere, and the two sides could announce an agreement, if it is reached soon.

The U.S. side was learned to have inquired with the North of its concrete terms desired for the suspension of missile development. But the two sides were in a tug-of-war over the issue of compensation. The North demanded a clear-cut economic compensation package corresponding to one by cash in return for the suspension of mid- and long-range missile exports, while the United States suggested indirect support through international economic organizations.

Chief negotiators of the two sides, Jang Chang-Chon, head of U.S. affairs bureau of the North Korean Foreign Ministry, and Robert Einhorn, assistant secretary of state of the United States, looked somewhat serious at the start of the talks.

They seemed to be feeling some burden over the result of the meeting, for it is expected to determine whether the North Korea-U.S. relations that became elastic following the U.S. visit by Cho Myong-Rok, first vice chairman of the National Defense Commission, and Secretary of State Madeleine Albright's Pyongyang visit can further progress.

The problem is that it is not easy for the two sides to reach a full agreement. Einhorn said prior to the meeting that there was serious progress in the missile issue but that there still were many things to be resolved. North Korea's Jang also showed a cautious attitude Tuesday night, saying that the two sides had to negotiate.

There is a high possibility for the long-range missile issue to be solved through U.S. launch of North Korean satellites, but the talks over the compensation for the suspension of missile exports are likely to face rough sailing.

North Korea retreated from its earlier demand for US$1 billion won every year, but it is demanding economic compensation corresponding to this, while the U.S. is proposing the humanitarian supply of food and additional lifting of economic sanctions, according to sources.

Boo Hyung-Kwon bookum90@donga.com