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Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Yudhoyono to visit N. Korea: spokesman

JAKARTA (AFP): President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is planning to visit Pyongyang to hold bilateral talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il, his spokesman said Tuesday.

No date had been fixed but it was hoped the trip would take place within the next few months, Dino Patti Djalal said.

He said it was not known if the trip would take place before Kim takes up an invitation, accepted in principle, to visit Indonesia.

Indonesia has long-standing ties with North Korea dating from the era of Indonesia's first president Sukarno. Kim visited Jakarta in 1965 when he accompanied his father Kim Il-Sung on astate trip.

Indonesia's special envoy Nana Sutresna visited Pyongyang last week as part of a mission to broker a meeting between the defense chiefs of North Korea and South Korea, which have technically been at war since their 1950-53 conflict, as part of efforts to reduce tensions on the divided peninsula.

Seoul, through its defence minister, last month asked Jakarta to host the talks and both Koreas last week agreed to resume military talks at general level no later than early March.

North Korea has been boycotting six-way talks aimed at dismantling its nuclear weapons program since negotiations ended in a stalemate in November over US financial sanctions on the Stalinist state.

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