N. Korea's No. 2 leader meets Syrian delegation

Sides report "friendly talks"; deny cooperation on nuclear program for Syria.

September 23, 2007 08:12
1 minute read.
N. Korea's No. 2 leader meets Syrian delegation

north korea 88. (photo credit: )

North Korea's No. 2 leader met with a Syrian delegation in Pyongyang on Saturday, the North's media reported, amid suspicions of a secret nuclear connection between the two countries. North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency reported that Kim Yong Nam - head of the North's rubber-stamp legislature and titular head of state - had "a friendly talk" with the Syrian delegation, led by Saaeed Eleia Dawood, director of the organizational department of Syria's Baath Arab Socialist Party. The Syrian official expressed satisfaction that the "friendly and cooperative ties" between the two countries "are growing stronger under the deep care of" Syria's President Bashar Al-Assad and North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, KCNA said. On Friday, the Syrian official held talks with Choe Tae Bok, a senior official of the North's ruling Workers' Party. The delegation's trip to Pyongyang came amid suspicions that the North may be providing nuclear assistance to Syria. Both countries deny the charge. Andrew Semmel, acting US deputy assistant secretary of state for nuclear nonproliferation policy, said last week that North Koreans were in Syria, and that Syria may have had contacts with "secret suppliers" to obtain nuclear equipment. Semmel did not identify the suppliers. However, he said that North Koreans were in Syria and that he could not exclude the possibility that the network run by the disgraced Pakistan nuclear scientist A.Q. Khan may have been involved.

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