North Korea -- Special Envoy VisitFact sheet released by the Office of the Spokesman
U.S. Department of State, October 5, 2000
Who: The special envoy is National Defense Commission First Vice Chairman and Director General of the Political Bureau of the Korean People's Army Jo Myong Rok. Jo ranks only below Chairman Kim Jong Il in the National Defense Commission and as such is well positioned to discuss the issues of greatest concern to the U.S. Vice Chairman Jo will be accompanied by DPRK First Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Kang Sok Ju, who hosted Dr. William Perry and Ambassador Sherman in Pyongyang in May 1999 and also was the lead DPRK negotiator for the 1994 U.S.-DPRK Agreed Framework.
What: The US and North Korea (the Democratic Republic of Korea or DPRK) agreed to advance bilateral relations through a visit to Washington October 9-12 by the senior special envoy. Jo, as the highest-ranking North Korean official ever to visit the U.S., will come to Washington as a personal envoy of North Korean Chairman Kim Jong Il. Secretary Albright will host First Vice Chairman Jo, and he will meet with the President and Secretary of Defense Cohen. Secretary Albright will be assisted in substantive meetings with Jo by Counselor of the Department Ambassador Sherman, who is also North Korea Policy Coordinator and Special Advisor to the President and Secretary of State.
Why: This visit is an important opportunity to improve bilateral understanding, and to contribute to stability and to ending the long-standing state of hostility on the Korean Peninsula.
Discussion topics: Talks with the special envoy and his delegation are expected to cover a wide range of topics, including nuclear and missile issues, terrorism, and other issues related to improvement in relations.
Developments in US/DPRK relations: Armed conflict ended in 1953 with an armistice and not a peace agreement. Thereafter US/North Korea relations remained strained and contentious, reaching crisis proportions in 1994 over North Korea's nuclear program. The October 1994 Agreed Framework between the U.S. and the DPRK has provided the foundation for improvement in bilateral relations. The Framework, which addresses concerns about North Korean nuclear activities at facilities at Yongbyon and Taechon, also envisions the eventual normalization of US/DPRK relations as the Framework itself is carried out and the DPRK addresses issues of concern.
Perry Report: At President Clinton's and Secretary Albright's request, Dr. William Perry (former Secretary of Defense) undertook a study (the "Perry Report") of U.S. policy toward North Korea. As part of his effort, Dr. Perry and Ambassador Sherman visited the DPRK in May 1999 and Dr. Perry extended an invitation to the DPRK to send a reciprocal visitor. Dr. Perry completed his report in October 1999 and he recommended that the U.S. pursue efforts to achieve significant improvement in relations with the DPRK as Pyongyang addresses U.S. concerns, particularly with respect to their missile and nuclear programs.
Results from dialogue: Pursuant to Dr. Perry's recommendations, the U.S. has vigorously pursued efforts to achieve improvements in our relations through progress on missile and nuclear issues. Thus far North Korea has agreed to a moratorium on flight-testing of long-range missiles and has entered into discussions on Agreed Framework implementation and related nuclear issues. We have also resumed missile talks with the DPRK and commenced a dialogue on counter-terrorism issues. In June of this year, in view of progress in relations, the President eased economic sanctions on the DPRK. This visit complements historic progress achieved in North/South relations, most notably the June Summit in Pyongyang between President Kim Dae-Jung and Chairman Kim Jong Il.
Coordination with allies: The U.S., South Korea (the Republic of Korea), and Japan created in April 1999 a Trilateral Coordination and Oversight Group (TCOG) as a mechanism for frequent senior-level consultation on issues related to the Korean Peninsula. The 12th TCOG (and 14th trilateral meeting) will take place on October 7.
10/5/00: Special Briefing by Ambassador Wendy Sherman, Counselor, U.S. State Department and Ambassador Charles Kartman, Special Envoy for the Korean Peace Talks on the Visit of a High-Level North Korean Official [end of document]
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