Saturday, October 17, 2009

North Korea Official getsU.S. Visa to talk with scholars

The United States said on Friday it would allow a senior North Korean official to visit this month, a move analysts said could be a first step toward talks between the two on ending Pyongyang's nuclear programs.

The State Department said it had decided to grant a visa to Ri Gun, North Korea's No. 2 official at multilateral talks on its nuclear programs, to attend meetings in New York and San Diego with private scholars and experts who study North Korea.

There is a high probability U.S. diplomat Sung Kim would meet informally with Ri on his trip.

The United States hopes a bilateral dialogue may bring North Korea, which carried out its second nuclear test in May, back to wider talks on abandoning its nuclear programs.

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