Research and Analysis on the DPRK Leadership
Jack Pritchard, Scott Snyder and Nicole Finnemann have completed their four (4) day pre-Turkey Day sojourn to Pyongyang. The US-based trio found no change in the North Korean position with regard to the Six-Party Talks or denuclearization. According to Kyodo News Service, Mr. Pritchard, “We carried no messages to the North Koreans from the US Government. We did not receive any specific messages.” Ms. Finnemann and Messers Pritchard and Snyder spent six (6) hours chewing the fat with Ri Gun, the Director-General of the MOFA North American Affairs Bureau, and an additional four (4) hours talking “with other North Korean officials.” They did not met neither MOFA Vice Minister Kim Kye-gwan (reported to be recovering from a cold) nor Senior Vice Minister Kang Sok-ju.
As the Americans departed, the Russians arrived. Sergei Mironov, speaker of the upper house of the Russian Parliament is visiting the DPRK with, among others, Deputy Foreign Minister Alexei Borodavkin. Mr. Mironov met with Choe Thae Bok, KWP International Secretary and Chair of the Supreme People’s Assembly, and Kim Yong-il, Premier of the DPRK Cabinet. According to ITAR-TASS, Mr. Mironov remarked, “It’s too difficult to speculate on the kind of future we’re going to face. Since there’s no real alternative to the talks, the North Korean leadership will be returning to this issue.”
China’s Foreign Ministry is drawing a happy face around the upcoming US-DPRK meetings when US Special Envoy Stephen Bosworth arrives in Pyongyang on 8 December. The Foreign Ministry spokesman in Beijing also remarked about the recent KPA-PLA contacts in Beijing and Pyongyang: “It was aimed at cementing and developing bilateral friendship and promoting exchanges and cooperation between the two armed forces.”
So Pritchard and Synder achieved nothing, as expected. What is the point of their visit anyway?
First, there was a third person, Nicole Finnemann, who was a member of the US delegation. Secondly, the delegation was not sent to “achieve” anything. They were not official US Government representatives and not enfranchised with any negotiating powers. Rather they were an advance team ahead of Amb. Bosworth’s visit to the DPRK in December. Their task was to communicate to the North Korean representatives the general outline of Amb. Bosworth’s message then hear the DPRK position so that the State Dept. can fine tune what the US will communicate in December.