North Korean leader Kim Jong Il has ordered his officials to arrange a meeting with a high-ranking U.S. official, possibly with President George W. Bush, a news report said Friday.
Kim told his Foreign Ministry to make arrangements for a visit to the North by a prominent U.S. figure, personally mentioning Bush, former President George H.W. Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice as possible visitors, South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported, citing an anonymous source familiar with North Korean affairs.
Officials at South Korea's Unification Ministry and Foreign Ministry couldn't confirm the report, according to the AP.
The latest round of international talks on North Korea's nuclear program in Beijing produced a landmark accord Monday where Pyongyang agreed to abandon its nuclear program in exchange for economic aid, security assurances and improved ties with the United States.
After the talks, chief U.S. negotiator Christopher Hill said he was willing to visit North Korea to keep channels of communication open, but many factors would determine whether such a visit could be made.
North Korea has long tried to engage the United States in bilateral talks, believing such meetings would boost its international status and help it win bigger concessions at the nuclear talks also involving China, Japan, Russia and South Korea.
In October 2000, then-U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright visited Pyongyang and met the North Korean leader.
The Americans came to realise that they would have to either leave the region or weaken their presence there. It is Russia that is filling the vacuum now