Tags: NKorea | US | talks | envoy

U.S. Weighs Entry for N. Korea Nuke Envoy

Thursday, 04 March 2010 10:27 AM

WASHINGTON – The United States said Wednesday it was considering whether to issue a visa for North Korea's top nuclear negotiator, who is believed to be seeking talks to break a deadlock.

Kim Kye-Gwan has been invited to the United States for an academic seminar and is said to be seeking a meeting with a top US official in New York.

"We are aware that they have asked about receiving a visa," State Department spokesman Philip Crowley said, describing it as a "private invitation."

"But we've made no decision as to whether to grant one," he told reporters.

South Korean Foreign Minister Yu Myung-hwan, who visited Washington last week, said earlier that US officials were unsure whether it would be useful to meet with Kim.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had said Friday after meeting Yu that the United States was "encouraged by signs of progress" toward resuming talks on North Korea.

But while President Barack Obama has pursued engagement with US adversaries, it has stepped up pressure on North Korea. The communist state tested a nuclear bomb months into the new administration's tenure last year.

Stephen Bosworth, the US special representative on North Korea, visited Pyongyang in December in hopes of restarting six-nation talks aimed at ending the communist state's nuclear program.

But North Korea has insisted it wants to speak first with the United States about reaching a peace treaty to formally end the 1950-53 Korean War.

Kurt Campbell, the assistant secretary of state for Asia, testified to Congress on Wednesday that the administration was ready to wait until North Korea recommits to earlier agreements on disarmament.

"I think we've been very patient, honestly, and I think Secretary Clinton's general concept of strategic patience has been applicable here," Campbell told the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

Copyright © 2010 AFP. All rights reserved.

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Thursday, 04 March 2010 10:27 AM
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