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U.S., Korea Extend Missile Talks

September 12, 1999

BERLIN (AP) _ U.S. and North Korean negotiators extended talks on the communist nation’s missile program Saturday, scheduling an unplanned sixth day of discussions.

``I’m satisfied, we have made some progress,″ North Korea’s Vice Foreign Minister, Kim Gye Gwan, said after the latest session at the U.S. Embassy in Berlin. He gave no details.

Both sides agreed to continue the talks Sunday, he said. There was no comment from U.S. delegates.

The Clinton administration hopes to persuade North Korea to freeze its missile programs, seen as a threat to East Asia’s military balance, by offering food aid and an easing of economic sanctions.

Amid fears the North plans a new missile test, President Clinton met with the leaders of Japan and South Korea on Sunday in Auckland, New Zealand, where they were gathered for an Asian-Pacific summit.

Clinton underlined to Japanese Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi and South Korean President Kim Dae-jung ``our common interest in stability and reconciliation on the Korean peninsula.″

Western military analysts believe North Korea plans to test an advanced model of a long-range missile it fired over Japan a year ago. The new missile is believed to be able to reach Alaska or Hawaii.

The United States, Japan and South Korea have warned that another launch could bring economic penalties against North Korea.

North Korea has been largely dependent on foreign aid to feed its people since 1995, when its agricultural industry failed after decades of mismanagement and years of bad weather.

The missile talks began in June in Beijing and continued Aug. 3-9 in Geneva.

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