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U.S., N. Korea open wide-ranging talks

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Nations will focus on terrorism, missile and nuclear programs

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- North Korea and the United States began talks in New York on Monday on what Washington calls North Korean support for terrorist groups, State Department spokesman Phillip Reeker said.

The talks, led on the U.S. side by counter-terrorism policy coordinator Michael Sheehan, are part of a round which began at the U.S. mission to the United Nations last Wednesday.

It is the first round in which the two sides will discuss a broad range of subjects instead of concentrating on a single issue. The talks also cover Pyongyang's missile and nuclear programs as well as a visit to Washington next week by Jo Myong-rok, the number two in the North Korean hierarchy.

  MESSAGE BOARD
North and South Korea
 

Reeker said the tone at the talks remained positive. A State Department official said they might continue into Tuesday.

North Korea wants to get off Washington's list of "state sponsors of terrorism" but the United States says that in previous talks on the subject it has not met the conditions.

The main U.S. demands are that North Korea expels Japanese Red Army members who hijacked a Japanese airliner to North Korea in 1970 and make a public denunciation of terrorism.

The main tangible benefit for North Korea in being taken off the list would be that the United States could support lending to it by multilateral financial institutions such as the IMF and World Bank.

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RELATED STORIES:
High ranking N. Korean official to visit Washington
September 29, 2000
U.S. wary of N. Korean military readiness
September 22, 2000
North Korea reportedly backs U.S military presence
September 11, 2000

RELATED SITES:
U.S. State Department
Korean Central News Agency (KCNA)
Korean Information Service
South Korean government
North Korea: Politics and Government
North Korea
UniKorea


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