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US Envoy Discusses N. Korea's Weapons Programs During Pyongyang Visit - 2002-10-05

A top U.S. diplomat says he raised Washington's concerns over North Korea's weapons programs during three days of talks in Pyongyang. Assistant Secretary of State James Kelly made the comments in Seoul, where he was briefing South Korean officials on his trip.

Special envoy James Kelly says he had frank and useful discussions with North Korean officials. He says the two sides discussed a range of subjects, including Pyongyang's missile programs, its conventional forces and human rights.

"I expressed our serious concerns on these matters, and raised the implications of North Korean conduct for regional and global peace and stability, for the North's relations with the United States, and also its neighbors, and for its own future," Mr. Kelly said.

James Kelly, the assistant U.S. secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, met with North Korea's Number-Two leader during his three-day visit. He also had talks with the vice foreign minister and other officials from the Foreign Ministry.

The U.S. envoy says the two sides made no decisions about further meetings. He says the U.S. government will review his visit to North Korea before deciding on its next steps.

Mr. Kelly stopped in Seoul on Saturday to brief officials on his visit to the North. He travels to Japan Sunday to talk with officials there, before returning to Washington.

In his briefing with reporters, Mr. Kelly gave very few details of his trip and did not answer questions. The State Department has been extremely tight-lipped about this meeting, and no reporters were allowed to accompany Mr. Kelly and his nine-member team to Pyongyang.

The last high-level U.S. official to visit Pyongyang was two years ago, when former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright met with North Korean leader Kim Jong Il.

In recent months, North Korea has worked hard to reach out to the rest of the world. It has resumed high-level talks with rival South Korea, and last month, the Japanese prime minister held a summit with the North Korean leader.