Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Tougher party line on North Korea by new U.S. envoy Robert King

The new U.S. special envoy for North Korean human rights has reaffirmed that the U.S. will not normalize relations with North Korea unless it improves the treatment of its people.

Robert King appears unlike his predecessor Jay Lefkowitz, a political appointee who was seen as largely ineffectual and ill-informed.

King occupies the post full-time, playing a part in policy-making and implementation. King said he discusses policy with Sung Kim, the special envoy on North Korean affairs, several times a day and meets Stephen Bosworth, the part-time special representative for North Korea policy, whenever he is available. His office is next door to those of Bosworth and Kim in the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs in the State Department building.

King also called for attention to increasing corruption in North Korea as the State Department's annual report on human rights released on March 11 found, which he believes make the life of North Koreans even harder.

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