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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Fact Sheet on Visit of North Korea Special Envoy

Office of the Spokesman
October 5, 2000
Who: The special envoy is National Defense Commission First Vice
Chairman and Director General of the Political Bureau of the Korean
People's Army Jo Myong Rok. Jo ranks only below Chairman Kim Jong Il
in the National Defense Commission and as such is well positioned to
discuss the issues of greatest concern to the U.S. Vice Chairman Jo
will be accompanied by DPRK First Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs
Kang Sok Ju, who hosted Dr. William Perry and Ambassador Sherman in
Pyongyang in May 1999 and also was the lead DPRK negotiator for the
1994 U.S.-DPRK Agreed Framework.
What: The US and North Korea (the Democratic Republic of Korea or
DPRK) agreed to advance bilateral relations through a visit to
Washington October 9-12 by the senior special envoy. Jo, as the
highest-ranking North Korean official ever to visit the U.S., will
come to Washington as a personal envoy of North Korean Chairman Kim
Jong Il. Secretary Albright will host First Vice Chairman Jo, and he
will meet with the President and Secretary of Defense Cohen. Secretary
Albright will be assisted in substantive meetings with Jo by Counselor
of the Department Ambassador Sherman, who is also North Korea Policy
Coordinator and Special Advisor to the President and Secretary of
Why: This visit is an important opportunity to improve bilateral
understanding, and to contribute to stability and to ending the
long-standing state of hostility on the Korean Peninsula.
Discussion topics: Talks with the special envoy and his delegation are
expected to cover a wide range of topics, including nuclear and
missile issues, terrorism, and other issues related to improvement in
Developments in US/DPRK relations: Armed conflict ended in 1953 with
an armistice and not a peace agreement. Thereafter US/North Korea
relations remained strained and contentious, reaching crisis
proportions in 1994 over North Korea's nuclear program. The October
1994 Agreed Framework between the U.S. and the DPRK has provided the
foundation for improvement in bilateral relations. The Framework,
which addresses concerns about North Korean nuclear activities at
facilities at Yongbyon and Taechon, also envisions the eventual
normalization of US/DPRK relations as the Framework itself is carried
out and the DPRK addresses issues of concern.
Perry Report: At President Clinton's and Secretary Albright's request,
Dr. William Perry (former Secretary of Defense) undertook a study (the
"Perry Report") of U.S. policy toward North Korea. As part of his
effort, Dr. Perry and Ambassador Sherman visited the DPRK in May 1999
and Dr. Perry extended an invitation to the DPRK to send a reciprocal
visitor. Dr. Perry completed his report in October 1999 and he
recommended that the U.S. pursue efforts to achieve significant
improvement in relations with the DPRK as Pyongyang addresses U.S.
concerns, particularly with respect to their missile and nuclear
Results from dialogue: Pursuant to Dr. Perry's recommendations, the
U.S. has vigorously pursued efforts to achieve improvements in our
relations through progress on missile and nuclear issues. Thus far
North Korea has agreed to a moratorium on flight-testing of long-range
missiles and has entered into discussions on Agreed Framework
implementation and related nuclear issues. We have also resumed
missile talks with the DPRK and commenced a dialogue on
counter-terrorism issues. In June of this year, in view of progress in
relations, the President eased economic sanctions on the DPRK. This
visit complements historic progress achieved in North/South relations,
most notably the June Summit in Pyongyang between President Kim
Dae-Jung and Chairman Kim Jong Il.
Coordination with allies: The U.S., South Korea (the Republic of
Korea), and Japan created in April 1999 a Trilateral Coordination and
Oversight Group (TCOG) as a mechanism for frequent senior-level
consultation on issues related to the Korean Peninsula. The 12th TCOG
(and 14th trilateral meeting) will take place on October 7.

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