Roger Clinton An Honored Guest in North Korea

By Bob Melvin | July 7, 2008 | 8:07 PM EDT

( - The official North Korean news media and international wire service reports say President Clinton's half-brother met the head of North Korea's national legislature and was guest of honor at a reception on Monday. Roger Clinton and two dozen South Korean pop stars went to North Korea last week and performed a concert Sunday in Pyongyang, the capital.

The Korean Central News Agency, the North's overseas news outlet, said Clinton met Kim Yong Nam, head of the legislature and second in the North's hierarchy after leader Kim Jong Il. The reception Monday was given by the semi-official Korean Asia-Pacific Peace Committee, which sponsored the concert.

Reclusive North Korea has allowed more contact with the outside world in recent years, partly because it badly needs international food aid. It has long shielded its people from the influence of the United States and South Korea.

In Washington, Defense Secretary William Cohen was asked about Roger Clinton's visit and North Korean signals of a desire for better relations with the United States.

"To the extent that they (the North Koreans) have public sentiments and statements to that effect and follow it up with meaningful concrete actions, all of us will benefit from their becoming part of and fully integrated into the international community,'' Cohen said. "This is going to take some time. It's a step-by-step process. And we will witness it to see if their words are in fact matched by deeds,'' he added.

The Koreas are technically still at war because the 1950-53 Korean War ended in an armistice, not a permanent peace