TITLE=U-S - NORTH KOREA TALKS (L)
INTRO: The United States and North Korea have opened
another round of talks about North Korea's missile
program. As VOA Southeast Asia correspondent Gary
Thomas reports, the U-S side is expressing cautious
optimism about the negotiations.
TEXT: The U-S-North Korea talks opened in the
Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur, Monday on an upbeat
U-S Assistant Secretary of State for Non-Proliferation
Robert Einhorn, who is leading the U-S delegation,
says the talks are taking place against what he calls
a "positive, promising backdrop" of developments from
the North Korean side. He said the United States is
looking forward to what he labeled "detailed
constructive discussions" on regional and global
security issues over the three days of talks.
There was no comment from North Korean delegation
chief Jang Chang Chon.
North Korea has long been an international recluse.
But its recent and gradual emergence from its
diplomatic shell is seen by U-S officials as reason to
hope for a positive outcome of this latest round of
The Pyongyang government first set off alarm bells
with its nuclear power program, which the U-S and
like-minded governments thought could be a front for
developing nuclear weapons. North Korea eventually
agreed to freeze its nuclear program in exchange for
fuel and western nuclear power stations.
North Korea's missile development has raised new
fears. North Korean scientists have developed their
own missile technology based on information gleaned
from Scud missiles built by North Korea's one-time
patron, the Soviet Union.
In 1998, a North Korean test missile was fired over
the Japanese island of Honshu, rattling Japan and the
West. The United States identifies North Korea as the
leading exporter of missile technology to states like
Iran and Pakistan.
But in recent months, North Korea agreed to a
moratorium on long-range missile tests in exchange for
an easing of U-S sanctions. It also opened talks with
Japan, held a summit meeting with its nemesis, South
Korea, and opened diplomatic relations with several
Asian and European governments. /// OPT /// Later this
month, North Korea will for the first time participate
in the ASEAN Regional Forum, a meeting of Asian and
Western governments on security issues. /// END OPT
However, the United States remains deeply concerned
over the North Korean missile program, which has led
to the campaign by the United States to develop a
missile shield system.
/// REST OPT ///
The proposed system is opposed by China, Russia, and
some NATO countries as potentially destabilizing to
existing arms control agreements. The United States
has also said it has no intention of withdrawing its
37-thousand troops stationed in South Korea. (signed)
10-Jul-2000 05:39 AM EDT (10-Jul-2000 0939 UTC)
Source: Voice of America
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