Research and Analysis on the DPRK Leadership
The Korea Herald reports today that Beijing has been proposed as the setting for a bi-lateral US-DPRK meeting which the US hopes facilitates the DPRK returning to the Six-Party Talks. According to the report, Special Envoy to the DPRK (and Tufts Fletcher School Dean) Ambassador Stephen Bosworth has selected DPRK Foreign Affairs Vice Minister Kang Sok-ju as his interlocutor. If this proves true, the selection of Vice Minister Kang is a shrewd decision of Ambassador Bosworth’s. Vice Minister Kang is Kim Jong-il’s cousin and is said to be highly trusted by General-Secretary Kim. With Bosworth possibly taking the lead, it is a sign that the grown-ups (which is to say, seasoned and shrewd nonpolitical professionals) have regained the upper hand at State in terms of US policy on the DPRK. In an adjacent matter, MOFA Director Ri Gun has been granted a temporary visa to visit the United States to attend a seminar in California.
Returning to Vice Minister Kang, he joined General Secretary Kim at a performance of the Russian Interior Ministry’s Academy ensemble over the weekend. Among other named attendees in the KCNA account were Minister of Public Security (one kind of Interior Ministry) Gen. Ju Sang-song, and National Defense Commission executives Gens. Ri Myong-su and Hyon Chol-hae.