The United States is expected to reassign its special envoy on North Korea issues and may not replace him, the Korea Times reported on Friday.
Glyn Davies, the current U.S. special representative for North Korea policy, is seen as a top candidate for the post of U.S. ambassador to Thailand, unidentified sources told the newspaper. Davies, who has served as special envoy since early 2012, is anticipated to be reassigned in the coming months.
However, it is not clear that the Obama administration will retain the diplomatic post of special envoy for North Korea following years of zero progress on the denuclearization front, according to the Times.
Davies brokered a nuclear and missile-testing moratorium with Pyongyang in early 2012 but the deal fell apart when the North several weeks later launched a space rocket — technology with direct implications on the development of intercontinental ballistic missiles. Other than that stillborn accord, no serious nuclear discussions have taken place since late 2008.
Meanwhile, official Syrian media are reporting that Damascus and Pyongyang agreed in late May to deepen their collaboration on science, technology and industrial manufacturing, the Yonhap News Agency reported.
The Syria-North Korea relationship is closely watched by the United States and other countries due to proliferation concerns. Damascus is believed by defense experts to have been able to rebuild missile manufacturing capabilities hurt by the Syrian Civil War with help from North Korea. Diplomatic sources in 2012 said the North was caught attempting to smuggle ballistic missile components to Syria. And Pyongyang is widely assumed to have provided Damascus with technical support to build an undeclared military reactor that was destroyed in a 2007 Israeli air strike.
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Much has been made of David Brooks’s recent New York Times column, in which confesses to missing already the civility and humanity of Barack Obama, compared to who might take his place. In NewYorker.com, Jeffrey Frank reminds us how critical such attributes are to foreign policy. “It’s hard to imagine Kennedy so casually referring to the leader of Russia as a gangster or a thug. For that matter, it’s hard to imagine any president comparing the Russian leader to Hitler [as] Hillary Clinton did at a private fund-raiser. … Kennedy, who always worried that miscalculation could lead to war, paid close attention to the language of diplomacy.”
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