Flogging Hope in North Korea

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The top American envoy to North continues to sound hopeful about a new round of North Korea diplomacy

In the wake of the shelling of Yeonpyeong island, the US and South Korea held large-scale military exercises in the area.

China has called for a resumption of six-party nuclear disarmament talks but the US, Japan and South Korea have so far been reluctant to agree without a sign from Pyongyang that it is sincere.

In recent days, however, statements from both the Koreas have appeared more conciliatory, suggesting talks could be a possibility.

Mr Bosworth, who is the US special representative for North Korea policy, will hold talks in South Korea on Wednesday before travelling on to China and Japan.

He said he would work with regional nations to reduce tensions.

“We believe that serious negotiations must be at the heart of any strategy for dealing with North Korea and we look forward to being able to launch those at a reasonably early time,” he said.

But, Ambassador Bosworth is keeping a tight grip on Seoul. Why not continue a policy that has never worked, when there’s nothing to replace it? Or, is there?

Defense Secretary Robert Gates also visits Seoul, Beijing and Tokyo from this Sunday to Jan. 14. In Seoul, he is scheduled to discuss with his South Korean counterpart Kim Kwan-jin how to work together to counter North Korean provocations and its nuclear and missile programs. If Bosworth’s trip is focused on dialogue, Gates’ is centered on deterrence. “The aim is to prevent the North from making a misjudgment by establishing a firm defense against any further provocations by the North,” a diplomatic source said.

Invited by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi visits Washington this week to prepare for a summit on Jan. 19 between presidents Barrack Obama and Hu Jintao. Yang and Clinton are expected to level the ground for the two heads of state to reach agreement on North Korea and the currency dispute between their two countries.

Japan wants to establish closer ties with South Korea to ensure stability in East Asia, Japanese Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara told South Korean media Monday.

OK, OK, be still my doubting heart!

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Filed under: East Asia, Korea Tagged: china, japan, north korea, postaday2011, prc, South Korea, stephen bosworth


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