State Department: No Fuel to North Korea

Bona Kim, Intern  |  2008-12-16 16:24
Robert Wood, Deputy Spokesman of the U.S. Department of State, said during his daily press briefing Monday that the Six Party Talks are at an impasse since North Korea did not agree to the verification protocol, and therefore the U.S. is discontinuing shipments of fuel to the impoverished Communist state.

Despite claims made by the U.S., Russia will continue its shipments as previously negotiated. Spokesman Sean McCormack said during the daily press briefing on the 12th that Russias current shipment of fuel to North Korea is understood by the rest of the parties because the shipment was already ready to be sent out and North Korea is aware of the proposed action of fuel discontinuation by the U.S. However, Wood yesterday confirmed that Russia also has a general understanding that it is going to be hard to move forward in meeting commitments to the North if it doesnt meet its commitments in return.

Wood, although unable to speak for every individual party, said that it was inconceivable that the fuel shipments would continue. He emphasized this process to be action-for-action; therefore the U.S. would need to see the North approve the verification protocol before receiving further fuel shipments, which is understood by the five parties.

On another note, Assistant Secretary Christopher Hill is likely to continue working on the North Korean nuclear issue, Washington Post reported Monday. Meanwhile Obama has been advised to send a special envoy to North Korea within 100 days of his inauguration in order to clarify with North Korea that the process of the Six Party Talks, as well as direct bilateral talks, is still on track. Some say that Obama may appoint a new envoy to North Korea.

Who will become the next special envoy to North Korea is still being asked every so often. Many reports have said that Obama will likely dispatch a relatively prominent figure. Some experts in Washington have speculated that former Secretary of State Madeline Albright or former Secretary of Defense William Perry might take up the position, according to KBS news. Others speculate that an Asia expert on the staff of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee called Frank Jannuzi, who recently met with North Korean negotiator Li Gun, may take the position, according CQ Politics.
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