U.S. Envoy in Seoul Before N.Korea Trip

      December 07, 2009 09:18

      U.S. special envoy for North Korea Stephen Bosworth arrives at Incheon International airport in South Korea on Sunday ahead of a North Korea visit.

      U.S. special representative for North Korea policy Stephen Bosworth, who visits Pyongyang on Dec. 8-10, arrived in Seoul on Sunday for talks before he heads for the North.

      Bosworth arrived at Incheon International Airport but dodged reporters waiting at the arrivals terminal by getting into a car on the apron and went to his quarters in downtown Seoul.

      A government source said, "It seems that he made a strategic decision to refrain from any public statement before he attends the first formal bilateral talks between Washington and Pyongyang" aimed at persuading North Korea back to the nuclear negotiating table.

      Bosworth will meet the chief South Korean envoy to six-party denuclearization talks Wi Sung-lac on Monday to discuss the agenda of the Washington-Pyongyang talks, and also meet Foreign Minister Yu Myung-hwan and Kim Sung-hwan, the senior presidential secretary for foreign affairs and national security.

      He flies to Pyongyang from the U.S. Air Base in Osan on Tuesday afternoon and there meet with first vice foreign minister Kang Sok-chu and other officials.

      There are fears that the talks there will produce no tangible results as North Korea wants a peace treaty to replace the armistice before it even thinks about returning to the six-party talks.

      The Choson Sinbo, a mouthpiece for Pyongyang published in Japan, last Saturday hinted that the North will "call for a peace treaty" during the bilateral talks. "To guarantee peace on the Korean Peninsula, [North] Korea and the U.S. -- the belligerent nations [in the Korean War] and parties directly concerned to the nuclear issue -- should go through the process of ending their hostile relations before anything else."

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