US and North Korean officials will meet in New York next Monday
to discuss first steps toward establishing normal ties after
decades of hostility, the State Department said Wednesday.
Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill will hold two days
of meetings with tNorth Korea's Vice-Foreign Minister Kim Kye-gwan.
The officials head their countries' negotiating delegations at six-party talks that resulted in a nuclear
disarmament agreement on February 13. Talks on normalizing
relations were called for in that agreement.
State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said Kim would stop in
San Francisco on his way to New York for talks with
non-governmental organizations. Kim was to arrive in New York
tomorrow for internal consultations before his meetings with Hill,
McCormack said. He had no other details.
McCormack said Hill and Kim would spend a lot of time working on
the agenda for the normalization process. "It's not a meeting that
will produce immediate results," he said.
On Tuesday, US intelligence officials told skeptical lawmakers
that North Korea appears to have started complying with the
disarmament agreement, though they said they would continue to
watch the country's actions closely.
Lieutenant General Michael Maples, head of the Defense
Intelligence Agency, said officials had seen North Korea begin
inspections of its main nuclear reactor, which the North pledged to
shut down and seal in return for an initial load of fuel oil. More
aid would follow once North Korea technicians had disabled its
(China Daily via agencies March 1, 2007)