Kim Jong appears in "full control"

WASHINGTON: North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il appears to be in "full control" of his government and Pyongyang has indicated it wants a better relationship with the United States, the US national security adviser said Sunday.

Retired general Jim Jones' comments in an interview on the "Fox News Sunday" show followed former president Bill Clinton's visit Tuesday with the North Korean leader to win the release of two jailed US journalists.

Clinton met with Kim for more than three hours of talks in Pyongyang.

Clinton's team was still being debriefed, Jones said, "but preliminary reports appear (to show) that Kim Jong-Il is in full control of his organization, his government."

The North Koreans "have indicated that they would like a new relation, a better relation with the United States," Jones said.

Noting that the North Koreans have always advocated bilateral talks with the United States, Jones said that Washington "would be happy to do that if in fact they would rejoin" the six party talks.

North Korea pulled out of the six party talks with the United States, South Korea, Japan, China, Russia in April after test-firing a long-range missile.

It followed up the missile text with a second nuclear test the next month, sparking the latest crisis in international efforts to get it to abandon nuclear weapons.