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Kelly, U.S. Envoy to Pyongyang Visits North Korea Late Aug.

Kelly, U.S. Envoy to Pyongyang Visits North Korea Late Aug.

Posted August. 01, 2002 22:10,   


James A. Kelly, assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific Affairs and U.S. envoy to Pyongyang, is reported to visit North Korea in late August.

North Korean Foreign Minister Baek Nam-soon, now on his stay in Brunei for the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), said, “North Korea and the U.S. agreed on the visit of assistant secretary of state James Kelly to Pyongyang in the Aug. 1st foreign ministerial meeting between the two nations.”

Mr. Baek added that the agreement comes without any strings attached and that the two countries would discuss conventional weapons during his visit.

In a press release about the U.S.-North Korea meeting, the North Korean delegation said, “We hail the Kelly’s call to Pyongyang as President Bush’s envoy. And the exact date of the visit will be set later.”

According to sources to the U.S., the date will be decided after the U.S. has consultations with South Korea and Japan, and considers the results of the ongoing 7th inter-Korean ministerial meeting at Geumgangsan, which started today.

In regard to the visit of Mr. Kelly, Korean government officials predicted that once the U.S. envoy and agenda items are already decided, the visit would be made in 2-3 weeks.

Asked about the outlook of the U.S.-North Korea dialogue after the contact between Colin Powell and Mr. Paek, State Department deputy spokesman Philip T. Reeker answered in the July 31st official briefing that after retuning back, Secretary of the state Colin Powell would consult with President Bush and the National Security Advisory about the issue, and then the Bush administration would talk about the next steps.

The U.S. was supposed to send James Kelly to the communist country on July 10, but it withdrew the plan, July 2nd, after deciding that it was not the right time for talks because of the procrastination of the North’ reply and the naval clash off the west coast in Korea.

Meanwhile, in regard to the issue of hijacking of a Japanese Airlines jet known as Yodo, the North Korean Foreign Minister said, “The hijackers decided to go home, and the time of repatriation would be up to them.

Young-Sik Kim Ki-Heung Han spear@donga.com eligius@donga.com