US

North Korean diplomat who negotiated '94 deal with US dies

FILE - In this Sept. 6, 2014 file photo, North Korea's Kang Sok Ju, right, a member of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK) and secretary of the WPK, shakes hands with German Ambassador to North Korea Thomas Schaefer as he leaves Pyongyang Airport in Pyongyang, North Korea to visit Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, Italy and Mongolia. Kang, a top North Korean diplomat who negotiated a short-lived 1994 deal with the United States to freeze its nuclear programs in exchange for international aid, has died of cancer, the country's state media said Saturday, May 21, 2016. (AP Photo/Kim Kwang Hyon, File)

FILE - In this Sept. 6, 2014 file photo, North Korea's Kang Sok Ju, right, a member of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK) and secretary of the WPK, shakes hands with German Ambassador to North Korea Thomas Schaefer as he leaves Pyongyang Airport in Pyongyang, North Korea to visit Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, Italy and Mongolia. Kang, a top North Korean diplomat who negotiated a short-lived 1994 deal with the United States to freeze its nuclear programs in exchange for international aid, has died of cancer, the country's state media said Saturday, May 21, 2016. (AP Photo/Kim Kwang Hyon, File)  (The Associated Press)

North Korea's state media says a top diplomat who negotiated a short-lived 1994 deal with the United States to freeze its nuclear programs in exchange for international aid has died.

The North's Korean Central News Agency said Saturday that Kang Sok Ju died of esophageal cancer on Friday at the age of 76.

Kang was a longtime foreign policy specialist for the North who negotiated the deal with the U.S. to freeze and eventually dismantle the North's nuclear facilities in exchange for international aid to build two electricity-producing nuclear reactors.

The deal fell apart in 2002 after revelations that the North had operated a secret nuclear weapons program in violation of the agreement.