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N Korean official heads to US

world Updated: Nov 04, 2008 11:40 IST

Agencies
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A North Korean diplomat in charge of ties with the United States left Pyongyang over the weekend on a trip to New York that is expected to include talks with US officials, sources close to the North Korean Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday.

Ri Gun, head of the American affairs bureau of the ministry, flew from Pyongyang to Beijing on Saturday en route to New York, they said.

Ri is visiting New York at the invitation of a private policy group and is expected to use the opportunity to hold talks there with Sung Kim, US special envoy to the six-party talks on denuclearizing North Korea.

The United States removed North Korea from its list of state sponsors of terrorism last month after Pyongyang agreed to a series of steps to verify its nuclear activities.

The verification regime agreement still needs to be codified in the six-party talks, which also involve China, Japan, Russia and South Korea.