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Reclusive North Korea Takes Steps to Resolve Nuclear Dispute


North Korea is taking steps to carry out promises it made earlier this month in a landmark nuclear agreement.

On Friday, Pyongyang invited the United Nations top atomic energy chief, Mohamed ElBaradei, to visit Pyongyang for the first time since the watchdog body's inspectors were kicked out of the country more than four years ago.

ElBaradei is likely travel to Pyongyang in March where he will discuss the shutdown of its nuclear facilities and the possible re-establishment of relations between North Korea and the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Saturday, South Korean newspapers report that North Korea's chief nuclear negotiator Kim Kye Kwan will visit San Francisco next Thursday for a lecture at Stanford University.

After the lecture, reports say Kim will head to New York for a meeting with his U.S. counterpart, Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill.

Neither North Korean nor U.S. officials have confirmed the report.

Earlier this month, North Korea agreed to close its main nuclear facility and allow atomic energy inspectors in the country within 60 days in exchange for energy aid.

North Korea expelled IAEA weapons inspectors in late December 2002, and officially withdrew from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in January 2003.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.