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Unofficial Contact Between Powell and Pak

Posted July. 31, 2002 22:08,   


US Secretary of State Colim Powell had an unofficial contact with Pak Nam-soon, the Foreign Minster of North. The contact was made in the convention hall of the Asian Regional Forum, which started in Brunei on July 31, 2002.

The North-US foreign ministers’ meeting was first in kind since George W. Bush took office. It is a high-level contact for the first time in 21 months. In October of 2000, the former Secretary of State, Madeline Albright visited the North, and it was the last.

A government official confirmed, “The meeting took place for about 15 minutes prior to the opening of the ARF. Secretary Powell reportedly said he had discussed matters such as nonproliferation of mass destruction, which had been the agenda between North and US last June, implementation of the Geneva Agreement and reduction of conventional arms.

He also added that Minister Pak “welcome the discussion with US.” Richard Baucher, the spokesman for the Department of State accompanying Secretary Powell, confirmed the meeting between the two and said, “We will decide on the matters involving continuance of talks and special envoy in consideration of the statements North has made.”

In the meanwhile, Foreign Minister Choi Sung-hong held a meeting in the afternoon with Powell and discussed with him various aspects of the policy toward North including the results of the North-US meeting.

Pak stated at the convention of the ARF, without mentioning the Yellow Sea Engagement, “If US really wishes peace, it should eliminate the risk of war and come to talks without any preconditions. Then, we will make equivalent efforts.”

Young-Sik Kim spear@donga.com