US experts to visit Pyongyang before envoy: Yonhap

A group of US experts on Korean affairs will visit Pyongyang Saturday for talks with policy makers regarding North Korea's nuclear weapons programme, a news report said.The trip comes as Stephen Bosworth, US special representative for North Korean policy, is scheduled to visit the communist state on December 8 in order to persuade it to return to six-party nuclear disarmament talks.

Korea Economic Institute (KEI) president Jack Pritchard, director of KEI research and academic affairs Nicole Finneman, and Scott Snyder, director of the Center for US-Korea Policy at the Asia Foundation, will stay in Pyongyang until Tuesday, Yonhap news agency said, quoting diplomatic sources.

"Their trip to North Korea is being made after consultations with the US government," the source told Yonhap.

"They are likely to meet with key North Korean officials concerned with the US and the country's nuclear weapons programme," the source said, adding they will brief the US government on the result.

North Korea quit the six-party talks in April, a month before it tested a second atomic weapon. Its leader Kim Jong-Il said last month he was ready to return to the talks, but only if bilateral discussions with the United States are satisfactory.

The six-nation talks, which began more than six years ago, group the two Koreas, the United States, China, Russia and Japan.

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