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N. Korean nuclear officials to attend U.S. conferences

  • Story Highlights
  • Ambassador Ri Gun will attend conferences in California, New York
  • He is vice director of Pyongyang's Institute of Disarmament and Peace
  • N. Korea has shown a willingness to return to six-party talks over its nuclear program
  • N. Korea pulled out of the talks in April
From Jill Dougherty
CNN Foreign Affairs Correspondent
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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The State Department has decided to authorize visas for a North Korean nuclear delegation so they can attend conferences in the United States later this month, a department spokesman said Friday.

Ambassador Ri Gun, vice director of Pyongyang's Institute of Disarmament and Peace, has been invited to participate in the Northeast Asia Cooperative Dialogue conference at the University of San Diego and a seminar in New York hosted by the National Committee on American Foreign Policy and the Korea Society, said the spokesman, Ian Kelly.

Following a visit by Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao earlier this month, North Korea indicated a willingness to participate in bilateral talks with the United States and return to six-party talks over its nuclear program, according to China's Xinhua news agency.

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North Korea pulled out of the talks in April in protest of the United Nations' condemnation over its nuclear test and missile launches. The communist country expressed similar openness to talks last month after leader Kim Jong-il met with Chinese special envoy Dai Bingguo.

The six-party negotiations include the United States, South Korea, Japan, China and Russia.

All About North KoreaPyongyangNuclear WeaponsKim Jong Il

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