North Korea. According to
COUNTRYAAH, North Korea, at the beginning of the year, engaged in
very active diplomacy for the purpose of breaking the
country's international isolation. Diplomatic relations were
established with Italy and Australia. USA, Canada, Japan and
China. Japan decided to resume food aid interrupted in 1998.
From Korea's president came high-level talks between the two
Korean governments, something that was not rejected by North Korea.
However, cooperation with foreign aid agencies was tough.
In the spring, two organizations, one French and one
American, decided to leave North Korea. The reasons were that food aid
was being diverted to the army and to civil servants and
that supervision of aid projects was made more difficult.
The food situation in the country was reported to be very
In the spring, North Korea and South Korea agreed on a meeting
between the two countries' presidents for the first time
since the Korean Peninsula was divided into two states in
1948. The historic summit between North Korea President Kim Jong Il
and his South Korean counterpart Kim Dae Jung was held June
13-15 in Pyongyang. 600,000 cheering North Koreans edged the
short route through the capital. Negotiations were conducted
in a positive spirit and were followed by a written
agreement on financial cooperation, on family reunification,
on confidence-building measures and relaxation, on work for
reconciliation and peaceful reunification between the North
and the South. The contacts continued with ministerial
meetings, which included agreed to open a railway line
between the countries.
In July, Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin
visited the country. It was the first visit by a head of
state from the Russian Federation or the Soviet Union. Putin
and Kim Jong Il agreed in their opposition to the US plans
for a new robot defense, NMD, which motivated the US to
"rogue states" such as North Korea have the intention and opportunity
to build their own nuclear weapons. Kim explained to Putin
that N. was ready to scrap his controversial robot program
in exchange for foreign rockets intended for space
satellites - North Korea claims that his own robots are intended for
satellites. A few weeks later Kim withdrew his offer; he had
The agreed family reunion began in August, when 100 South
Koreans traveled to Pyongyang and 100 North Koreans traveled
to Seoul to meet relatives they had not seen for half a
century. There were very emotional meetings. Similar trips
were also carried out later in the year.
At the inauguration of the Sydney Olympics in September,
the North and South Korean participants marched together
under the same banner. At the end of October, another
historic visit took place in North Korea when US Secretary of State
Madeleine Albright visited Pyongyang. Kim Jong Il then
explained that North Korea made a single test shoot with his own
manufactured long distance robot and that no more test will
be done. In December, Britain established diplomatic
relations with North Korea.