Albright Ends Historic N. Korea Visit

ByABC News
October 24, 2000, 2:33 PM

P Y O N G Y A N G, North Korea, Oct. 24 -- North Korea may be one of the worlds few remaining communist countries, a place that has been described as being hermetically sealed for the last 50 years, but its leader is no slouch in the new economy.

At a dinner today to mark the end of Secretary of State Madeleine Albrights landmark visit to the country, Albright told Kim Jong-il: Pick up the phone anytime.

Kim instantly replied: Please give me your e-mail address.

The request was unusual coming from the leader of North Korea, a country that has very few computers and no cellular telephone service. North Korea has an Internet service provider though.

The improbability of the nights meeting was not lost on Albright, who found it hard to believe she was having a cordial visit to a communist land that the United States, until recently, called a rogue state.

Toasting Kim in palatial Magnolia Hall where she was host for a parting dinner, Albright said: I never expected to play the role of host for such a gathering as this.

An aide to Kim said in his toast that North Korea looked forward to more steps toward a reconciliation

The officials dined in a six-sided room in a vast hall glowing with brilliant light all this in a state where many North Koreans, even near the capital, use candles and oil lamps in the face of an electricity shortage and their poverty.

Chairman Kim was quite clear in explaining his understanding of U.S. concerns, Albright said, describing him as a good listener and very decisive.

Albright said she would report back to President Clinton and he would decide whether the time was right for him to visit North Korea.

Missile Reassurances

After two days of historic high-level talks, U.S. officials said today that North Korea was seeking reconciliation with the United States, and has indicated it wont launch long-range missiles.