WORLD> Asia-Pacific
New US envoy on DPRK heads to region
Updated: 2009-03-03 14:31

The Obama Administration's new chief emissary on the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), Stephen Bosworth, is scheduled to arrive in China on Tuesday for initial discussions on how to persuade Pyongyang toward fresh nuclear disarmament steps.

Ambassador Stephen Bosworth, seen here on February 26, 2009, speaks after US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced his appointment as the new Special Representative for DPRK Policy. [Agencies]

Beijing will be Bosworth's first stop on his first visit to the region since he was nominated last month for the job of overseeing protracted nuclear negotiations with DPRK, which the United States fears is also preparing a missile launch.

But no breakthroughs are expected on Bosworth's first visit.

Susan Stevenson, spokeswoman for the US embassy in Beijing, said Bosworth had "no plans at this time" to speak to reporters on arrival. His predecessor, Assistant Secretary of State Christoper Hill, was notable for his frequent media briefings.

Bosworth has become the chief US envoy at a tense and uncertain time.

Six-party talks between the two Koreas, China, Japan, Russia and the United States on Pyongyang's nuclear weapons programs have stalled, with implementation of an initial energy-for-disarmament deal most recently stuck on DPRK's refusal to allow nuclear material to be taken abroad for tests.

Bosworth, a former ambassador to South Korea, will later in the week fly to Tokyo and Seoul, where he will also meet Russian officials.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton last week said Bosworth's tour was to "move the six-party process forward."

Since taking on his new job, Bosworth has not publicly discussed how he will approach the negotiations.

But early in February, he visited the DPRK while still dean at the Fletcher School of diplomacy at Tufts University. After that visit, he said officials said they wanted to advance nuclear disarmament steps if their aid demands were met.