Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Bosworth to visit North Korea this month

The Chosun Ilbo reports that U.S. special representative for North Korea policy Stephen Bosworth will visit North Korea late this month after his administration accepted North Korea's request for bilateral talks.

Bosworth will most likely meet with Kang Sok-ju, the first vice foreign minister and an influential foreign policy maker in the North. Kang has dealt with the U.S. at decisive moments in nuclear negotiations over the past 16 years.

The U.S. has made it clear to the North that Bosworth's visit will not constitute talks for talks' sake but is aimed at persuading the North to return to the six-party negotiations. The U.S. turned down a North Korean offer at a preliminary meeting in New York last month to resuming excavation of the remains of U.S. soldiers and a performance by a North Korean orchestra in the U.S.

There is speculation that Kang, instead of offering to return to six-party talks, could attempt to stall for time by calling for mutual nuclear disarmament talks or to cause cracks in the Seoul-Washington alliance.

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