An official delegation of six North Koreans quietly visited Athens, Ga., last week to learn modern agricultural techniques that might benefit their communist country which reportedly is on the verge of famine.

      The North Koreans attended a series of seminars put on specially for them by the University of Georgia’s Department of Animal and Dairy Science on how to improve livestock production.  The delegates also toured several north Georgia poultry processing plants, including Gold Kist’s operations in Athens.

      Ed Kanemasu, coordinator of UGA’s Office of International Agriculture, which arranges for visits of agriculture officials, students and teachers from many countries, said the North Koreans seemed to be anxious to maintain cordial relationships with individual Americans even if their two governments remained hostile toward each other.

      He added that they were most interested in maintaining good relations on “a scientist-to-scientist basis,” even if the two governments couldn’t get along.

      The North Koreans came to UGA, Dr. Kanemasu said, because of the close contact that a member of the UGA faculty, Han Park, a political science professor, has with the North Korean government.  Dr. Park made the arrangements for this visit, Dr. Kanemasu added.

      Dr. Park, a South Korea native has cultivated ties with the communist government for many years and he is one of only a handful of Americans who have relatively easy access to the isolated country.

      Another reason for the visit to Athens is Georgia’s second place standing after Arkansas in U.S. poultry production.  “Chicken is their number two food for protein,” Dr. Kanemasu said.