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Kim Jong-Il Visits Russia - 2001-08-12

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il is visiting some high-technology industries in central Siberia, taking a break from his long return journey home by train. Mr. Kim's rail journey to Russia began last month and will continue for at least one more week.

Kim Jong-Il is visiting several institutes in the major Siberian city of Novosibirsk, which specialize in high-technology research and development.

The most prominent is a nuclear physics facility that develops particle accelerators and conducts experiments in thermonuclear synthesis.

The North Korean also is meeting members of Russia's Academy of Sciences, which has a large branch in a city known for its advanced institutions.

The overnight stop is the latest of several visits Mr. Kim has made to high-technology facilities during his long voyage across Russia on the Trans-Siberian Railway.

In Moscow he toured Russian space facilities, including a factory which develops rockets.

All of this comes amid continuing international concern about North Korea's development of missiles, which the United States considers a danger.

During a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin a week ago, Mr. Kim said his country's missiles are not meant to threaten anyone.

The Bush administration has often pointed to North Korea as one reason why the U.S. needs to develop a controversial anti-missile shield.

In Seoul South Korea, the head of a visiting U.S. Senate delegation said the administration's missile plan will only complicate U.S. efforts to resume talks with North Korea.

Senator Joseph Biden says the North Koreans will likely not restart stalled talks on other issues if the U.S. pushes ahead with developing the shield.

Mr. Biden is chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and has criticized the Bush plan to proceed in spite of strong opposition from various countries, including Russia.