North Korean Envoy May Meet with US Official
By VOA News
24 October 2009
A North Korean envoy in New York on a rare visit to the United States may meet face-to-face with a U.S. negotiator, fueling hopes for progress on stalled nuclear disarmament talks.
Ri Gun arrived on Friday and is due to attend academic forums in New York and California.
But a State Department spokesman told reporters Friday the U.S. was considering a meeting between Ri and the U.S. special envoy for disarmament talks, Sung Kim.
The spokesman said he had nothing to announce, but "wouldn't exclude" the possibility of a meeting.
Ri is North Korea's second-ranked envoy in international talks aimed at ending Pyongyang's nuclear weapons program. North Korea withdrew from the talks in April, but says it is ready to return if it gets to speak one-on-one with U.S. officials.
Meanwhile, also on Friday, the United States froze the assets of a North Korean bank and one of its executives for allegedly being involved in the sale of ballistic missiles.
The Treasury Department said Friday the move prohibits U.S. businesses from dealing with the Amroggang Development Bank and the president of Amroggang and Tanchon Commercial Bank, Kim Tong Myong.
It says the bank has helped to finance the sale of ballistic missiles and other weapons out of North Korea.
The action is another step in a long-running effort by the United States to put financial pressure on North Korea and to block the flow of money for weapons.
On Thursday, major South Korean media outlets reported that officials from the two Koreas met secretly last week in Singapore to discuss a possible summit between their leaders.
South Korean officials have refused to confirm or deny the reports.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.
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