Be wary of Kim Jong-Il: North Korean defector

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    http://sg.news.yahoo.com/031030/1/3fgia.html

    Be wary of Kim Jong-Il: North Korean defector


    Hwang Jang-Yop, the highest-ranking North Korean official to defect to South Korea, met members of the US Congress and warned against putting too much faith in the promises of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il.

    "I don't think that any promise made by Kim Jong-Il is of any significance," Hwang told reporters when asked whether Pyongyang would be prepared to give up its nuclear weapons programs in exchange for US security guarantees.

    A former secretary of North Korea's ruling Workers Party and the architect of the country's Juche ideology of self-reliance, Hwang has been a harsh critic of Kim Jong-Il and his regime since defecting six years ago.

    Hwang, who is making his first visit to the United States since defecting, met State Department officials on Wednesday and briefed members of the Committee on Homeland Security of the House of Representatives on Thursday.

    Representative Chris Cox, the committee chairman, described the briefing as a "candid exchange" with Hwang which helped lawmakers gain a greater appreciation for the extent of the "horrible mistreatment of the North Korean people."

    "He has seen Kim Jong Il grow up. He is intimately familiar with the workings of the North Korean state and the North Korean society," said Cox, a top Republican lawmaker.

    Hwang said that during his meeting with a half a dozen members of Congress, he offered his advice about the most effective way to help oppose the Stalinist regime in Pyongyang, which he described to US lawmakers as being more hideous than Nazi Germany.

    "I have provided some suggestions ... about how to oppose the dictatorship," he said.

    On Wednesday, Hwang met with Washington's top diplomat for Asia, James Kelly, for about 45 minutes and with senior aides to John Bolton, the under secretary of state for arms control and international security, for about an hour.

    He was to meet Thursday with Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage.

    Hwang's 10-day visit to the United States comes at a time when tensions are running high over North Korea's nuclear weapons programs and questions over the resumption of multilateral talks aimed at ending the year-old deadlock.

    A first round in Beijing in August brought together the United States, China, Japan, Russia and the two Koreas.

    China and North Korea agreed in principle Thursday to continue the six-party talks during a visit by China's number two leader Wu Bangguo to the North.

    The agreement was reached during a meeting between Wu -- China's second ranking politician and head of its legislature -- and Kim Jong-Il on the second day of the highest-level Chinese mission to the country in two years.

    The meeting followed North Korea's surprise weekend statement that it would consider US President George W. Bush's offer of security assurances in exchange for ending its nuclear weapons programs.
     

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