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Bush Administration Considers Resuming Dialogue With North Korea - 2002-06-14

The Bush administration's envoy for North Korea, Jack Pritchard, held talks with a senior Pyongyang diplomat in New York Friday to discuss a resumption of dialogue between the two countries. A visit to North Korea by Mr. Pritchard was on the agenda but there were no immediate details of the closed-door meeting.

Though President Bush listed North Korea as part of an "axis of evil" because of its exports of missile technology and efforts to develop weapons of mass destruction, the administration has none-the-less said it is open to unconditional talks with the North. And State Department spokesman Philip Reeker says Mr. Pritchard's meeting with North Korea's chief UN delegate Pak Gil Yon was aimed at restoring a bilateral dialogue that all but ended after the Clinton administration.

"We want to achieve progress," Mr. Reeker said, "We've outlined the things that we'd like to talk about. The President proposed this comprehensive dialogue to accomplish that, and Ambassador Pritchard is there today to see how we can then move this forward on that."

In a policy address Monday, Secretary of State Colin Powell said the United States wants to see Pyongyang get out of the weapons proliferation business, move toward a less threatening conventional military posture, comply with international nuclear safeguards, and agree to more transparency in the distribution of food aid to hungry North Koreans.