Bosworth – The New Six-Party Talks Guy?

The IHT is reporting that Stephen Bosworth, a former U.S. ambassador to South Korea, is expected to be named as the U.S. envoy to six-party talks on curbing North Korea’s nuclear ambitions. Bosworth has served three times as U.S. Ambassador, most recently to the Republic of Korea (1997-2000), previously to the Philippines (1984-1987), and initially as Ambassador to Tunisia (1979-1981). He has been the Dean of the The Fletcher School at Tufts University since 2001.

Ambassador Bosworth was the guy who delivered President Reagan’s call for a “peaceful transition to a new government” to Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos during the 1986 People Power Revolution.

Gosh, that is 23 years ago this year!

According to one account in Time magazine, one of Marcos’ men went to see Michael Armacost, who was then “P” and was given a blunt message: Marcos had lost control of his army, the troops under General Ver were ineffectual, and if Marcos did not step down, the country could be heading for civil war. A similar statement was sent to the U.S. Ambassador in Manila, Stephen Bosworth, who took it to Marcos.

Last year, Bosworth co-wrote with Morton Abramowitz (former assistant secretary of State) a piece on North Korea for Newsweek, Reaching Out To Pyongyang urging on a strategy toward Pyongyang that addresses both the nuclear program and the long-term question of how to deal with the weak but dangerous nation.

“What North Korea wants more than anything is “political compensation,” a relationship with Washington, in which the United States would stop making threats, drop all sanctions and start treating North Korea as a friendly country. As Pyongyang sees it, such moves would finally allow it to join the global economic community—key to its survival. Until then, North Korea will hold on to its nuclear weapons as an insurance policy against a U.S. attack and, more important, the threat that Washington will simply ignore North Korea and allow it to starve in the dark. What this means in practical terms is that Pyongyang won’t give up its nukes until it’s sure Washington has permanently abandoned its “hostile policies,” and “mutual trust” has been established. This will require, among other things, establishing diplomatic relations and striking a peace agreement that formally ends the Korean War. […] There are no guarantees, but this approach would be far better than waiting around and hoping North Korea will collapse. That is no real policy at all, and rest assured North Korea knows how to get our attention.”

The appointment has not been officially announced but AP is reporting that officials said Secretary Clinton would like to name Bosworth before her departure Sunday for Asia. Ambassador Bosworth would replace Ambassador Christopher Hill as chief U.S. envoy to the Six-Party talks with North Korea. Click here to read about Ambassador Hill’s talk on North Korea at Harvard earlier this month.


Update: 2/14:
The Secretary asked about the appointment of the U.S. envoy had this to say yesterday: “As to the envoy, we’ll be ready to announce our envoy to North Korea soon. But again, I think you’ll understand that we would like to consult with our partners in the Six-Party Talks before we do so.”

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