TITLE=U-S / NORTH KOREA (L-0)
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
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
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
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.
05-Jan-2000 05:23 AM EDT (05-Jan-2000 1023 UTC)
Source: Voice of America
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