WASHINGTON, Oct 31 (Reuters) - Senior U.S. and North Korean
diplomats will meet in New York next week, the State Department
said on Friday, as the Bush administration seeks to advance an
arms-for-disarmament deal with the poor, isolated state.
U.S. diplomat Sung Kim will meet Ri Gun, director general
for North American Affairs at North Korea's Foreign Ministry,
when the North Korean visits New York next week to attend a
meeting arranged by a U.S. nongovernmental group.
The State Department provided no details about the meeting
or what might be discussed.
North Korea tested a nuclear device in 2006.
Under a 2005 multilateral deal, North Korea agreed to
abandon its nuclear programs in exchange for economic and
diplomatic incentives. The agreement, however, appeared in
danger of collapse this year when North Korea began to reverse
the disablement of its Soviet-era nuclear reactor at Yongbyon.
The United States took North Korea off its terrorism
blacklist earlier this month after the two countries agreed on
a series of measures to verify Pyongyang's nuclear program and
Pyongyang resumed disabling the reactor.
The verification steps still have to be formally agreed on
by the two Koreas, the United States, Russia, Japan and China
-- the six nations struck the 2005 agreement on ending North
Korea's nuclear ambitions.