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North Korea nuclear envoy to attend US security conference

March 2, 2012 - Washington

A senior North Korean nuclear negotiator will attend a security conference at New York's Syracuse University.

A U.S. official confirmed that Ri Yong Ho would be undertaking the visit.

Ri, North Korea's Vice Foreign Minister and envoy to nuclear disarmament negotiations, will attend a conference organised by the Syracuse University's Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs.

The exact location of where the forum will be held is not known.

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said Ri was coming at the Maxwell School's invitation for three days next week to attend "track two," or unofficial discussions the school is sponsoring.

This development comes on the heels of a breakthrough agreement that will provide much-needed U.S. food aid to North Korea in exchange for a rollback of its nuclear programs, CBS News reports.

The agreement announced Wednesday sets in motion a plan laid out by North Korean leader Kim Jong Il before his death in December: to improve relations with the U.S. and to get back to six-nation disarmament-for-aid negotiations.

Significant challenges remain, however, in achieving the long-term goal of the U.S. and other nations: to persuade Pyongyang to end its nuclear ambitions altogether.


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