Assistant U.S. Secretary of State Christopher Hill, right, is greeted by Ri Gun, vice director of North Korean Foreign Ministry’s U.S. Affairs Department, left, in the North Korean capital of Pyongyang on Thursday June 21, 2007. The high-ranking U.S. envoy made a rare trip to North Korea on Thursday in a surprise bid to accelerate the international efforts to press the communist government to abandon its nuclear weapons program.
The chief U.S. nuclear envoy made a rare trip to North Korea on Thursday in a surprise bid to accelerate international efforts to press the communist government to abandon its nuclear weapons program.
Assistant U.S. Secretary of State Christopher Hill’s trip came ahead of the expected resumption of six-nation talks next month following the resolution of a key financial dispute that had blocked progress.
The trip is Hill’s first to North Korea, as well as the first by a U.S. nuclear envoy since the latest crisis with the North over its nuclear development began in late 2002.
The United States wants to end North Korea’s nuclear program. The North Koreans and Kim Jong-Il have a history of abrogating “DEALS”.
So, Christopher Hill is in North Korea to seal the deal after the transfer of the Macau funds and the transfer of fuel oil.
“I think the U.S. is trying to keep North Korea from dragging its feet any longer” now that the banking dispute is resolved, said Nam Sung-wook, a North Korea expert at Korea University. “Unless something is done right now, North Korea could stall for time on another pretext.”
Nam said the North appears to want to reaffirm concessions it would get from Washington before it closes down and seals the reactor, including removing Pyongyang from the U.S. list of states that sponsor terrorism.
Hill planned consultations Thursday and Friday on the nuclear issue “to move the process forward,” the State Department said in a statement.
The Clinton administration allowed North Korea to develop their nuclear program by weakness and diplomatic neglect.
This won’t happen again.
A satellite image from DigitalGlobe taken on January 5, 2006 shows the Yongbyon nuclear reactor in North Korea.