North Korea, US Hold First High-Level Talks in Bangkok
North Korean Foreign Minister Paek Nam-sun and U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright yesterday held a historic meeting in Bangkok which will eventually lead to the establishment of diplomatic ties between the former foes.
Albright, freed by the ruptured Middle East peace talks, arrived Friday for the highest-level meeting between U.S. and North Korean officials after half a century of hostility.
During the meeting, Albright urged North Korea to stop its ballistic missile program, while Paek renewed demands for an end to U.S. economic sanctions, especially under terrorism-related regulations.
In particular, Albright pressed Minister Paek for details on North Korean leader Kim Jong-il's recent offer to turn its efforts to develop ballistic missiles into a program focused on peaceful launch of satellites.
It is not currently available how Minister Paek replied to Albright.
U.S. officials have said Washington could accept North Korean satellites being launched from neutral sites, such as the South Pacific, but ruled out selling boosters or technology that could improve the North's missile capability.
Earlier, the U.S. State Department described the Paek-Albright talks as introductory, and said no major deals were expected.
Paek and Albright also exchanged views on the proposed visit by a senior North Korean official to Washington.
According to the North's National Defense Commission Chairman Kim, Pyongyang will dispatch Workers' Party secretary Kim Yong-sun and a senior military officer to Washington to discuss improving bilateral ties. …