DATE=6/9/2000 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT TITLE=PUTIN / NORTH KOREA (L UPDATE) NUMBER=2-263323 BYLINE=OWEN FAY DATELINE=MOSCOW CONTENT= VOICED AT: 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 agenda. 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 attack. 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) NEB/OF/JWH/KL 09-Jun-2000 10:22 AM EDT (09-Jun-2000 1422 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .
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