SEOUL, May 21 - The architect of North Korea's nuclear diplomacy who negotiated a 1994 accord with the United States that halted a US plan for a military strike on the isolated state's nuclear facilities, has died, North Korea said on Saturday.
Kang Sok Ju, who last served as the North's vice premier and a member of the ruling Workers' Party Central Committee, died of cancer on Friday at the age of 76, the official KCNA news agency said.
Kang, as vice foreign minister, held tense negotiations with the United States that led to the 1994 "Agreed Framework" for the North to suspend activity at its Yongbyon nuclear site in return for construction by an international consortium of a nuclear power plant that would not be diverted for military use.
"Comrade Kang Sok Ju played an active role at the forefront to undertake the great Marshal's genius diplomatic wisdom and outstanding guidance, leading the anti-U.S. nuclear battle starting in the early 1990s," KCNA said.
The Marshal refers to Kim Jong Il, who was leader when the 1994 deal was struck. He was the father of current leader Kim Jong Un and died in 2011.