By Sr. State Department Producer Elise Labott and National Security Producer Jamie Crawford
The U.S. announced a new envoy to engage North Korea in renewed talks about its nuclear weapons program that are set to resume next week in Geneva. The State Department announced that Glyn Davies, U.S. ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency, will replace Special Representative for North Korea Policy Ambassador Stephen Bosworth. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton asked Davies to pick up the portfolio according to a senior State Department official briefing reporters traveling with Clinton to Afghanistan.
Bosworth will formally step down from his position following the meetings October 24-25 in Geneva.
Deputy State Department Spokesman Mark Toner called the meetings "exploratory" in nature and a continuation of meetings held earlier this year in New York as a way to gauge whether North Korea is prepared to go forward in further talks over their nuclear program. Officials stressed this was not a negotiation with North Korea. "We are not seeking to have talks for talks sake." Toner said. It's "safe to say we are looking for concrete actions" by North Korea before resuming the six-party talks which have been dormant since 2008, Toner said.
The United States has been in contact with all the parties involved in the six party talks on a regular basis Toner said. Recent meetings between the North and South Korea that were seen as constructive by the United States were one of the reasons the new round of talks were announced.
The State Department did not give a specific reason for Bosworth's decision to step down following the meetings in Geneva, but Toner said he believed it was a "personal" decision on Bosworth's part. In addition to his role at the State Department, Bosworth has also maintained his position on the faculty at the Fletcher School of Diplomacy at Tufts University outside Boston.
Clifford Hart, a foreign policy adviser to the U.S. Navy and an expert on China and Taiwan will become the new chief U.S. negotiator to the six-party talks. He will report to Davies in his new role. Hart replaces Sung Kim who was confirmed last week as the next U.S. ambassador to South Korea.