DATE=7/19/2000 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT TITLE=PUTIN / NORTH KOREA - L NUMBER=2-264564 BYLINE=HYUN SUNG KHANG DATELINE=SEOUL CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: Russian President Vladimir Putin has arrived in the North Korean capital, Pyongyang, following a state visit to Beijing. Russia, China and North Korea are united in their criticism of the proposed US National Missile Defense system. As Hyun-Sung Khang reports from Seoul, security issues are high on Mr. Putin's agenda during his stay in Pyongyang. TEXT: The Russian leader was met at the airport by the North Korean leader, Kim Jong Il, and a full honor guard. This is the first ever visit to North Korea by a Russian head of state. The two leaders are expected to discuss the issue, which dominated Mr. Putin's Beijing visit: namely the proposed US National Missile Defense system, or NMD. Just hours before Mr. Putin's arrival, North Korea's state-controlled media denounced the US missile shield plan and said it was an attempt by the United States to have unchallenged military supremacy in the Pacific region. Washington argues it needs a shield to protect itself from what it calls rogue states -- including North Korea. Analysts suggest President Putin intends to try to broker an agreement to reduce the threat from Pyongyang's missile program. Professor Lee Chung Hoo, of Seoul's Yonsei University, says this would strengthen the Russian argument against NMD, when he meets other heads of state at the G-8 summit of major industrialized nations later this week in Japan. /// LEE ACT /// Putin will try to get some sort of understanding or agreement with Kim Jong IL on his weapons of mass destruction, missiles. And if he is able to deliver and say at G-8, "I have talked to Kim Jong Il and he has said he is not going to develop missiles beyond a certain range," then I think this will significantly undermine the US argument that its NMD is being built as a preemptive measure against rogue states such as North Korea. /// END ACT /// Moscow and Pyongyang had been long-time allies, but relations between them cooled following the end of the Cold War. The Russian president now seems intent on bolstering the relationship and reasserting Russian influence in the region. (signed) NEB/HK/HSK/JO 19-Jul-2000 04:43 AM EDT (19-Jul-2000 0843 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .
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