Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Condoleezza Rice to visit North Korea?

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice may become the highest-ranking Bush administration official to visit North Korea.

South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun's special adviser said Monday that Rice's possible visit, in October or November, would pave the way for a four-way summit between two Koreas, the United States and China to discuss a peace settlement on the Korean peninsula and change the political landscape in Northeast Asia.

"Rice's trip can be realized when further progress is made to disable North Korea's nuclear facilities," Lee Su-hoon, chairman of the Presidential Committee on Northeast Asian Cooperation Initiative, told a local radio program.

"If Rice eventually goes to Pyongyang, North Korea will most likely take reciprocal steps," he said, predicting significant improvement in inter-Korean relations.

His comments come after a surprise visit to Pyongyang by chief U.S. nuclear envoy Christopher Hill last week during which North Koreans promised to carry through with their nuclear obligations.

The last secretary of state to visit North Korea was Madeleine Albright in October 2000.


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