TITLE=PUTIN / NORTH KOREA (L UPDATE)
INTRO: Russian President Vladimir Putin will become
the first leader of his country to visit North Korea
when he goes to Pyongyang later this year. Owen Fay
in Moscow reports that nuclear issues will top the
TEXT: President Vladimir Putin will meet with North
Korean leader Kim Jong-Il; it will be the first time a
Russian president has held direct talks with the
leader of the politically isolated country.
Reports say the visit will take place just prior to
the July summit of leading industrial nations in Japan
and comes at a time when North Korea's nuclear weapons
program has sparked a major dispute between Russia and
the United States.
But Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov said the
purpose of the trip is not to try and pressure North
Korea to abandon its ballistic missile program.
/// IVANOV ACT - IN RUSSIAN - FADE UNDER ///
Mr. Ivanov says President Putin is going on a visit to
a friendly country and -- in his words -- "does not
intend on talking anybody out of anything."
No official agenda for the meeting has yet been
released although the talks are expected to focus on
two key issues -- political tensions on the Korean
peninsula and the controversial United States plan to
build a missile defense system to guard against
The United States has repeatedly cited North Korea as
one of what it calls "rogue states," which a defense
shield would protect against.
The Russian government has fiercely objected to the
plan saying the system would spark a new arms race.
During talks in Moscow last Sunday, Mr. Putin told
President Clinton that Russia remains categorically
opposed to such a system.
Spokesmen in the Kremlin say Mr. Putin's trip to North
Korea has come about at the urging of the Russian
government. It marks a fundamental shift in Russia's
foreign policy toward North Korea. The Putin
government now wants to help North Korea end its
international isolation, and sees a personal visit by
Mr. Putin as a first step in doing so. (Signed)
09-Jun-2000 10:22 AM EDT (09-Jun-2000 1422 UTC)
Source: Voice of America
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