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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

INTRO:  The United States and North Korea have held 
their highest level meeting in more than five decades.  
U-S Secretary of State Madeleine Albright met in 
Bangkok Friday with North Korean Foreign Minister Paek 
Nam-Sun in what the United States is calling another 
step in the communist country's emergence from decades 
of isolation.  But Correspondent Nick Simeone reports 
Secretary Albright says she was not able to learn 
anything more about a North Korean offer to end its 
missile program.
TEXT:  Secretary Albright's meeting with Foreign 
Minister Paek lasted longer than expected.   She left 
reporters with the impression that it no doubt was a 
step forward, but that she still has many more 
questions about North Korea than answers.
            /// ALBRIGHT ACT ///
      My meeting today with Foreign Minister Paek 
      constitutes a substantively modest but 
      symbolically historic step away from the 
      sterility and hostility of the past and towards 
      a more direct and promising approach to 
      resolving differences and establishing common 
            /// END ACT ///
At the top of the list of U-S concerns are recent 
statements North Korea made to Russia suggesting it 
was willing to give up its missile program if other 
countries would supply it with technology to conduct 
peaceful space research.  Secretary Albright says she 
was unable to learn anything more about the offer and 
a senior U-S official told reporters the United States 
would continue to seek clarification.
In the past year, the United States has eased 
longstanding sanctions against North Korea after 
Pyongyang agreed to stop testing ballistic missiles.  
But Washington remains so concerned about North 
Korea's missile and nuclear intentions that President 
Clinton is considering deploying a multi-billion 
dollar missile shield to defend against a potential 
attack from North Korea and what the United States 
calls other rogue nations.
This historic U-S /North Korean meeting was just the 
latest in a week of unprecedented diplomatic 
initiatives by North Korea, which U-S officials see as 
another sign Pyongyang may be ready to emerge from 
decades of isolation.
            /// ALBRIGHT ACT TWO ///
      If anybody had told me that I would be shaking 
      hands with the Foreign Minister of the D-P-R-K 
      (North Korea) today, I would have been very 
      surprised and so I look forward to this 
      relationship moving forward on a considered and 
      careful step-by-step basis.
            /// END ACT ///
Secretary Albright's meeting with her North Korean 
counterpart comes just a month after the leaders of 
North and South Korea held their first summit.  It 
also highlights what has been an unprecedented "coming 
out" by the North on the sidelines of a Southeast 
Asian regional security meeting here in Bangkok.  In 
just the past few days, North Korean Foreign Minister 
Paek held his first ever meeting with his counterpart 
from South Korea, received a promise of diplomatic 
recognition from Canada and was welcomed into Asia's 
largest security conference for the first time.   
28-Jul-2000 07:36 AM LOC (28-Jul-2000 1136 UTC)
Source: Voice of America

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