U.S., N. Korea Talk Missiles

Thursday, November 2nd 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — U.S. and North Korean negotiators met for a second day Thursday to discuss curbs on the communist country's missile program — the main hurdle in normalizing relations.

Robert Einhorn, assistant secretary of state and head of the American delegation, received the North Korean team, led by Jang Chang Chon, head of his country's bureau on U.S. affairs, at the steps of the U.S. Embassy.

``We exchanged serious opinions about long-distance missile issues,'' Jung Sung Il, secretary-general of the North Korean Foreign Ministry, said later after the talks ended. ``I cannot talk on particular items. After the talks tomorrow, I can make a better explanation to you reporters.'' Friday is scheduled to be the last day of talks.

The negotiators resumed a stalled dialogue Wednesday in a warm atmosphere created by last week's meeting between U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and North Korean leader Kim Jong Il. The outcome may influence whether President Clinton makes a historic trip to North Korea.

Negotiators were working on proposals that North Korea curb its missile program and allow other countries to launch its satellites in exchange for promises of U.S. help for its devastated economy.

North Korea has said it needs missiles to launch scientific satellites, and it regards its missile program as part of its right to self-defense. Talks have deadlocked over the North's demand for $1 billion in compensation for stopping profitable missile exports — something the United States has so far refused.

The United States claims North Korea is the world's top exporter of missile equipment and technology to Pakistan, Iran and other nations.