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DATE=1/5/2000
TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
TITLE=U-S / NORTH KOREA (L-0)
NUMBER=2-257792
BYLINE=STEPHANIE HO
DATELINE=BEIJING
CONTENT=
VOICED AT:
INTRO:  North Korea has ruled out sending a senior envoy to 
the United States for an unprecedented high-level visit.  V-
O-A's Stephanie Ho reports the comments made in Beijing come 
after a long official silence on the matter.
TEXT:  The North Korean Ambassador to China, Chu Chang-jun, 
says a North Korean delegation cannot visit the United 
States under the current circumstances.
In Beijing Wednesday, Mr. Chu said North Korea feels 
betrayed by the United States.  He also called on Washington 
to withdraw its troops from South Korea and end what he 
termed U-S interference in Korean affairs.
The comments from Pyongyang's Beijing envoy were North 
Korea's first indication that it would not go ahead with the 
visit.  The meeting in Washington would have been the first 
concrete step toward normalizing ties between the two 
countries.
Washington and Pyongyang held their first round of bilateral 
talks in Berlin in September.  The meeting led to a freeze 
of the North Korean missile program and an easing of U-S 
sanctions against North Korea. 
The news follows an announcement Tuesday by Italy that it is 
the first of the G-Seven industrialized countries to 
establish diplomatic relations with North Korea.
The South Korean government welcomed the decision, saying it 
will further help open up North Korea to the rest of the 
world.  South and North Korea remain technically at war 
following the 1950-1953 Korean conflict.
Meanwhile, Japan has also been holding political talks with 
North Korea.
Japanese and North Korean officials met in Beijing last 
month to discuss the eventual normalization of relations 
between the two Asian neighbors.  When the meeting ended, 
upbeat Japanese officials described the talks as frank and 
friendly, and said they hoped they would resume early this 
year.
After it established diplomatic ties with Italy, though, 
Pyongyang threw cold water on any Japanese optimism.  The 
North Korean government demanded that Tokyo provide wartime 
compensation and an apology before relations could improve.  
(SIGNED)
NEB/HO/FC
05-Jan-2000 05:23 AM EDT (05-Jan-2000 1023 UTC)
NNNN
Source: Voice of America
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