DATE=7/24/2000 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT TITLE=NORTH KOREA / U-S S-ONLY NUMBER=2-264724 BYLINE=ALISHA RYU DATELINE=HONG KONG CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: North Korea says it is will hold the highest level of talks to date with the United States. The two foreign ministers are expected to Wednesday (7/26) in Bangkok, Thailand, where they will be attending the Association of Southeast Asian Nations regional forum. VOA's Alisha Ryu reports from our Asia News Center. TEXT: The official North Korea news agency made the announcement in Pyongyang. The expected meeting between North Korean Foreign Minister Paek Nam Sun and U-S Secretary of State Madeleine Albright is another sign the hard-line communist nation is emerging from self-imposed isolation. The State Department, however, says it is not certain whether Ms. Albright will be able to attend the ASEAN forum due to the on-going intensive Palestinian-Israeli peace talks near Washington, D-C. If Ms. Albright does hold talks with her North Korean counterpart, discussions are likely to center on Pyongyang's reported pledge to halt its ballistic missile program in return for cooperation on space research. Talks on North Korea's missile program broke down last month when Pyongyang demanded a billion dollars annually from the United States. (Signed) NEB/HK/AR/JO 24-Jul-2000 04:38 AM LOC (24-Jul-2000 0838 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .
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