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Joel Wit to meet N. Korean officials in Geneva this week: sources
WASHINGTON, Aug. 7 (Yonhap) -- Joel Wit, a former U.S. State Department official, will meet with North Korean foreign ministry officials in Geneva this week for so-called Track II discussions, diplomatic sources here said Wednesday.

   "North Korea and the U.S. plan to have an informal meeting in a civilian-government format, not through their official diplomatic channel," a source privy to the matter said. "The U.S. government is not involved in the meeting."

   Wit, a visiting scholar at the U.S.-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies, is traveling to Geneva for the session, said another source.

   Having specialized in North Korean issues at the State Department, he is known for expertise on the communist nation and reportedly has some personal connection with its officials.

   In July last year, Wit had a similar meeting in Singapore with Choi Son-hui, director general of the North Korean foreign ministry's American affairs bureau.

   Many are skeptical that Wit's meeting with North Koreans in Geneva will produce any breakthrough in efforts to resume talks on Pyongyang's nuclear program.

   The Obama administration is not enthusiastic about the North's recent peace offensive, calling for Pyongyang to first demonstrate seriousness on dialogue.

   Earlier in the day, meanwhile, North Korea agreed to return to negotiations with the South on the fate of their joint industrial complex in Kaesong.

   Wit and his aides were not available for comment.

   lcd@yna.co.kr
leechidong@gmail.com
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