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North Korea Says American Envoy Demonstrates Hostile US Attitude - 2002-10-07

Pyongyang has accused a U.S. envoy of adopting a high-handed and arrogant attitude toward the country. From Seoul, U.S. diplomat James Kelly has returned to Washington following talks with North Korean officials in Pyongyang.

North Korea's central news agency, quoting a Pyongyang official, says James Kelly's visit demonstrates Washington's hostile attitude toward the country. Pyongyang accuses the U.S. administration of pursuing a hardline policy of hostility and says Washington is trying to bring the country to its knees.

The comments contrast with Mr. Kelly's verdict of his three-day trip, which ended Saturday.

Mr. Kelly, assistant secretary of state for East Asia and Pacific affairs, told reporters he raised Washington's concerns over the North's weapons of mass destruction and other issues during talks in Pyongyang. He added that the United States was committed to resolving its differences through discussions with North Korea (DPRK). "I also explained how a comprehensive effort by North Korea to address our concerns could lead to an improvement in U.S.-DPRK relations," Mr. Kelly said.

Beyond Mr. Kelly's short statement to reporters Saturday, U.S. officials have said nothing about the trip to Pyongyang. No journalists were allowed to accompany Mr. Kelly.

The North Korean news report criticized Mr. Kelly for linking improved relations between the two countries to security and human-rights issues.

Mr. Kelly's visit was the first high-level meeting between officials from North Korea and the United States in two years. It also was the first major meeting since President Bush labeled the North part of an axis of evil earlier this year.

In recent months, North Korea has been reaching 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 landmark summit with the North Korean leader, Kim Jong Il.