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DATE=3/16/2000
TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
TITLE=U-S / NORTH KOREA (L-ONLY)
NUMBER=2-260250
BYLINE=DAVID SWAN
DATELINE=CAPITOL HILL
CONTENT=
VOICED AT: 
INTRO:  The U-S State Department is denying 
suggestions of a breakdown in talks with North Korea -
- though the two nations have yet to agree on terms 
for a historic North Korean visit to Washington.  V-O-
A's David Swan has details.
TEXT:  The administration had indicated that a high-
level North Korean official would come here in about a 
month for the first such visit since the Korean war.  
It is not clear if that schedule still holds, after 
the two sides ended their latest round of meetings in 
New York without setting a date for the trip.
But in testimony to Congress (Thursday), State 
Department Counselor Wendy Sherman said there was no 
rebuff and the parties are taking small steps forward.
            /// Sherman Act ///
      I don't see it as the talks having broken down 
      or having failed.  I see it as part of a very 
      tough and continuing negotiating process that we 
      expected to take time.
            /// End Act ///
The United States hopes the visit will help ease a 
tense relationship, marked by concern about North 
Korea's missile, chemical and nuclear programs.  
Opposition Republicans often charge the Clinton 
administration has allowed Pyongyang to gain the upper 
hand.
At Thursday's hearing, there were questions about 
whether American food aid is going to North Korea's 
army instead of starving civilians.  Ms. Sherman 
acknowledged the program can be abused, but said it is 
still worthwhile.
            /// Sherman Act ///
      In fact, food is reaching the most vulnerable 
      populations and those who have been there 
      frequently have seen, just with their own eyes, 
      a difference in terms of the health and welfare 
      of children, women and the elderly.
            /// End Act ///
The North Koreans have agreed to more talks on the 
visit, and to renew discussions on missiles and 
nuclear issues. (Signed)
Neb/ds/JP
16-Mar-2000 13:04 PM EDT (16-Mar-2000 1804 UTC)
NNNN
Source: Voice of America
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