DATE=7/23/2000 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT TITLE=N. KOREA - U-S MEETING (L-ONLY) NUMBER=2-264709 BYLINE=HYUN-SUNG KHANG DATELINE=SEOUL CONTENT= VOICED AT: TEXT: North Korea says the country's Foreign Minister and the U-S secretary of State will hold talks next week in Bangkok. The meeting will take place ahead of a regional forum in Thailand and will mark the highest-level contact ever between the two countries. From the South Korean capital, Hyun-Sung Khang reports. TEXT: North Korea's Central News Agency, says Foreign Minister Paek Nam-Sun will meet Secretary of State Madeleine Albright on Wednesday, to discuss issues related to bilateral relations. The meeting will take place just before the beginning of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Regional Forum due to start in Bangkok on Thursday. Talks between Pyongyang and Washington over North Korea's missile program, stalled less than a month ago; with Pyongyang demanding a billion dollars a year in return for halting missile development. Washington points to countries like North Korea, as one of the reasons for its proposed National Missile Defense Shield. Pyongyang shocked the region by firing a missile over Japan less than two years ago. But an editorial published in North Korea's official newspaper, (Sunday), repeated a long-standing accusation by Pyongyang, that the United States was trying to gain military supremacy with the missile shield. Last week, following a state visit to Pyongyang, the Russian leader, Vladimir Putin, said North Korea was prepared to halt its missile program in return for space technology. But the announcement has been met with skepticism in Washington. The meeting between the North Korean Foreign Minister and U-S Secretary of State, comes as Pyongyang shows increasing signs of wanting to shake off its isolationist past and engage with the outside world. During his stay in Bangkok, the North Korean Foreign Minister is also scheduled to hold discussions with his counterparts from Japan and South Korea. These meetings will represent some of the highest level contacts between North Korea and the international community, in years. (Signed) NEB/HSK/PLM 23-Jul-2000 07:04 AM EDT (23-Jul-2000 1104 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .
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