DATE=7/20/2000 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT TITLE=PUTIN / NORTH KOREA - L NUMBER=2-264604 BYLINE=HYUN SUNG KHANG DATELINE=SEOUL CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: Russian President Vladimir Putin is on his way to Okinawa (has arrived in Okinawa) for a major international summit, following his unprecedented trip to North Korea. In Pyongyang Thursday, Mr. Putin announced that North Korea agreed to halt its missile program in return for access to space technology. Hyun-Sung Khang reports from Seoul. TEXT: Wrapping up his two day visit to Pyongyang - the first ever by a Kremlin leader - Mr. Putin made a surprise announcement. He said North Korea is prepared to exclusively use the missile technology of other countries, if it is offered rocket boosters for space research. President Putin called on other countries, including South Korea, China, Japan and the United States to help fund the project. He says North Korea also gave him an assurance that its missile program was entirely peaceful. North Korea's missile program has put the communist country at odds with much of the international community. In fact, it is one of main reasons the United States says it needs a proposed satellite and radar-controlled missile defense shield. The so-called National Missile Defense, or NMD, is strongly opposed by Russia and China, which say it would upset the strategic balance in the region and spark a new arms race. Washington has responded with skepticism to Mr. Putin's announcement. A State Department spokesman says the United States needed to see clear evidence that North Korea is serious about ceasing missile production. The issue is certain to be discussed when Mr. Putin meets with the leaders of industrialized nations at their annual summit in Japan Friday. NEB/HK/HSK/JO 20-Jul-2000 05:24 AM EDT (20-Jul-2000 0924 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .
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