Congressional delegation leaves en route to North Korea

Six US congressmen hope to ease tensions with North Korea in the first visit by American officials since a crisis began last year over the country’s secret nuclear programme.

They will tell North Korean officials that economic aid and trade lie ahead if Pyongyang abandons its nuclear programme and improves relations with the United States, said the delegation leader, Curt Weldon, a Republican from Pennsylvania. Weldon stressed that the lawmakers weren’t traveling as Bush administration envoys and wouldn’t negotiate. He said the administration neither encouraged nor tried to prevent the trip. On Tuesday, the congressmen discussed North Korea with Assistant Secretary of State James Kelly.

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