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Kim Yong-nam complained about threats from outside world: report

All Headlines 04:05 December 25, 2009

By Hwang Doo-hyong

WASHINGTON, Dec. 24 (Yonhap) -- North Korea's ceremonial head of state complained about threats from the outside world when he met with a group of U.S. businesspeople recently, a report said Thursday.

Charles Boyd, president of Business Executives for National Security, a nonpartisan Washington-based organization, led a group of U.S. businessmen to Pyongyang earlier this month to meet with Kim Yong-nam, president of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly, and other officials in the reclusive communist state.

"Kim Yong-nam, president of the Supreme People's Assembly, told him how threatened North Korea felt by its neighbors," said the report carried by the Web site North Korean Economy Watch.

A retired U.S. Air Force four-star general, Boyd told the Web site, "To the extent that I could, I think I tried to relieve him of some of his anxiety about the external threats to the country."

North Korea has said its nuclear weapons programs are a deterrent to threats from the U.S., insisting it will not abandon its arsenal unless there is an end to what it considers U.S. hostility.

Pyongyang wants to forge a peace treaty with the U.S. to replace the fragile armistice that ended the 1950-53 Korean War, when U.S. troops fought alongside South Korea against invading North Korean troops, aided by their communist ally, China.

The U.S. position is that any peace treaty should be discussed within the six-party talks on ending the North's nuclear ambitions.

Stephen Bosworth, U.S. special representative for North Korea policy, who visited Pyongyang earlier this month, hinted at holding four-party discussions on the peace treaty within the six-party framework.

Boyd said his delegation did not discuss investment or any other business opportunities while in Pyongyang, citing U.N. sanctions slapped on North Korea for its nuclear and missile tests.

"I think they believed that we came with business leaders who were interested in investing in North Korea, and of course that we had to make that clear to them right from the outset that nobody had any intention whatsoever of making any investments in North Korea and in fact could not due to international sanctions," he was quoted as saying.

"They were not particularly pleased to hear that. They wanted to talk about investments. They didn't want to talk about the linkage of those investments to a resolution of the nuclear issue," he said, adding he and his colleagues discussed "the benefits of leaving their isolation and entering into the globalized world."

The delegation included Ross Perot Jr., chairman of the board of the Perot Systems Corp., Maurice Greenberg, chairman of C.V. Starr & Co. Inc., and Boyd's wife, Jessica Mathews, president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.


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