|SLUG: 268698 U-S / North Korea||DATE:||NOTE NUMBER:|
TITLE=U-S / NORTH KOREA (L)
INTRO: The United States and North Korea have resumed talks on the communist state's ballistic missile program. The United States wants North Korea to curb its exports of missile technology. As V-O-A Southeast Asia Correspondent Gary Thomas reports, U-S negotiators are hoping they can capitalize on the recent historic visit of U-S Secretary of State Madeleine Albright to North Korea.
TEXT: U-S and North Korean negotiators sat down in Kuala Lumpur Wednesday for the first talks since Secretary of State Madeleine Albright's trip to Pyongyang.
Chief U-S negotiator Robert Einhorn says the talks build on the discussions between Secretary Albright and the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-Il. He says serious progress was made in the Pyongyang talks, but that much work remains to be done.
Mr. Einhorn says the two sides will explore Mr. Kim's idea of Western help in launching satellites, in exchange for what he termed "serious restraints" on North Korean missiles.
The head of the North Korean delegation, Jang Chang Chon, made no comment before the onset of the talks.
The outcome of the talks could determine whether President Clinton visits North Korea before leaving office in January.
The United States has been trying to get North Korea to curb its missile program and halt the export of its missile technology. The previous round of negotiations, held in Kuala Lumpur in July, faltered when the United States rejected a North Korean demand for one billion dollars in compensation to halt its missile technology exports.
But that was before Ms. Albright's watershed visit last week to Pyongyang. For the first time, a U-S official met with the reclusive leader of the tightly-controlled country. Much of the extensive discussions between Ms. Albright and Mr. Kim centered on the missile proliferation issue.
Faced with famine and stagnant economy, North Korea has been breaking out of its long diplomatic isolation. After years in cold storage, relations between North and South Korea have thawed dramatically in recent months. The United Nations has just adopted the first ever resolution jointly introduced by the two Korea's, which deals with easing tensions and the eventual reunification of the divided Korean Peninsula.
Britain and Germany are already moving towards diplomatic relations with North Korea. (signed)