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Reclusive North Korea Takes Steps to Resolve Nuclear Dispute

  • VOA News

North Korea is taking steps to carry out promises it made earlier this month in a landmark nuclear agreement.

On Friday, Pyongyang invited the United Nations top atomic energy chief Mohamed ElBaradei to visit Pyongyang for the first time since the watchdog body's inspectors were kicked out of the country more than four years ago.

ElBaradei is likely travel to Pyongyang in March where he will discuss the shutdown of its nuclear facilities and the possible re-establishment of relations between North Korea and the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Saturday, South Korean newspapers report that North Korea's chief nuclear negotiator (vice foreign minister) Kim Kye Kwan will visit the west coast US city of San Francisco next Thursday for a lecture at Stanford University.

After the lecture, reports say Kim will head to New York for a meeting with his US counterpart, Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill.

Neither North Korean nor US officials have confirmed the report.

Earlier this month, North Korea agreed to close its main nuclear facility in Yongbyong and allow atomic energy inspectors in the country within 60 days in exchange for energy aid.

North Korea expelled I.A.E.A. weapons inspectors in late December 2002, and officially withdrew from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in January 2003.

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