US envoy arrives in Seoul amid 'stunning' report on new North Korea nuclear facility
US envoy to North Korea Stephen Bosworth arrived in Seoul Sunday to meet with South Korean officials to discuss how resume six-party talks on denuclearizing North Korea.
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His visit comes as a US scientist posted a report Saturday describing a “stunning,” highly sophisticated and newly built North Korea nuclear facility he visited recently.
Mr. Bosworth will meet with South Korea’s chief nuclear negotiator and foreign minister Monday, before traveling to Tokyo the same day and to Beijing Tuesday to speak with each country’s counterparts for North Korean issues, the Korea Herald reports.
The stalled six-party talks include the North Korea, the US, South Korea, Japan, Russia, and China, with Beijing advocating resuming talks and speaking with North Korea as a way to keep it from acting rashly. North Korea walked out of talks last year but has said that it wants to resume them now.
Analysts call the disclosure of the new nuclear facility part of North Korea’s “time-honored” tactics to gain leverage in these negotiations, according to Reuters, which adds that experts also say that international sanctions are deeply hurting the North Korean economy.
It’s hard to confirm or deny North Korean claims on its nuclear capability, which it says is for civilian electrical purposes, because it expelled international inspectors last year. But many in the US and other nations involved in the negotiations are “wary” of falling into the pattern that has confounded past governments, in which Kim Jong Il’s government “made threats and then was rewarded with cash and other benefits not to carry them out,” the Washington Post reports.
"We have consistently insisted that any talks must be real negotiations over its nuclear weapons program," a senior Obama administration official said in an e-mail to the Post.