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U.S. PLANE TO TOUCH N. KOREAN SOIL FOR 1ST TIME IN 40 YEARS

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For the first time in over 40 years, a U.S. military plane will touch down in North Korea.

The plane will carry the first American legislators to visit the communist state since the July death of longtime ruler Kim Il Sung, the Foreign Ministry said Tuesday.No U.S. plane has landed in the North since the 1950-53 war, in which the United States led U.N. forces to fight on South Korea's side.

Sen. Frank Murkowski, R-Alaska, and Sen. Paul Simon, D-Ill., will travel overland from Seoul to the North on Sunday, ministry spokesman Chang Ki-ho said. A U.S. military plane will pick them up for the return to Seoul, he said.

Murkowski is a leading critic of the U.S.-North Korea nuclear agreement signed in October, which provides for the North to freeze and eventually dismantle its nuclear program in exchange for economic aid and diplomatic relations with Washington.