PYONGYANG, North Korea (AP) — The North Korean diplomat who negotiated a 1994 deal to freeze the country’s nuclear programs in exchange for aid was mourned at his state funeral as a serious loss for the country.

Senior military and ruling party officials attended the ceremony Sunday for Kang Sok Ju, a longtime foreign policy specialist for the North, at the Sojang Club in Pyongyang. Several officials bowed before the open casket, which was later driven to Patriotic Martyrs’ Cemetery where he was buried.

State media reported Kang died of esophageal cancer at age 76 on Friday.

He was Pyongyang’s chief negotiator when it reached the landmark agreement with Washington in 1994. It fell apart in 2002 after revelations that the North had operated a secret nuclear weapons program in violation of the agreement.

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