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(LEAD) N. Korean leader to visit Iran for int'l meeting: news report
By Lee Chi-dong
WASHINGTON, Aug. 21 (Yonhap) -- North Korean leader Kim Jong-un plans to visit Iran next week to attend an international meeting, a news report said Tuesday.

   For his first state visit since taking power in December, Kim is scheduled to join the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summit in Teheran from August 26 to 31, the German news agency DPA said, citing a local media report.

   The NAM consists of 120 member states and 21 observer states that consider themselves not aligned to any major power bloc.

   A meeting among the heads of member states is held every few years.

   The news report has not been independently confirmed.

   Responding to Yonhap News Agency's inquiry, the White House said it "does not have a comment."

   The venue for this year's NAM summit is apparently sensitive to the U.S. as Teheran remains defiant to international efforts to end its nuclear program.

   The U.S. government said earlier this week that Iran does not deserve to host a summit of non-aligned nations.

   "Iran is going to try to manipulate this NAM summit and the attendees to advance its own agenda and to obscure the fact that it is failing to live up to multiple obligations that it has to the U.N. Security Council, the IAEA and other international bodies," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said at a press briefing. The International Atomic Energy Agency is based in Vienna.

   The United Nations mission in Teheran reportedly said in a statement that UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was still planning to attend.

   But Ban's aides said he has not made a decision yet.

   North Korea's ceremonial head of state, Kim Yong-nam, who ranks second in the communist nation's power hierachy, attended the previous NAM summit in Egypt in 2009.

   South Korea, which is not a NAM member, often sends its own delegation to the summit as an observer.

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