A US interagency team will meet with a North Korean delegation led by First Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye-gwan in Geneva, Switzerland, on October 24-25, it was announced Wednesday.
The State Department said in a statement that this meeting “follows a series of denuclearization talks between the nuclear negotiators of the Republic of Korea and North Korea, as well as a meeting between the United States and North Korea in late July in New York.”
It indicated that in Geneva, the U.S. and North Korean delegations “will continue discussions to determine if North Korea is prepared to implement its obligations under UN Security Council Resolutions 1718 and 1874 and its commitments under the 2005 Joint Statement of the Six-Party Talks, including concrete steps toward denuclearization.”
For his part, State Department Deputy Spokesman Mark Toner told reporters in this regard that “as always, we’re going to remain in very close coordination with the Republic of Korea as well as other partners as we move forward.”
Meanwhile, Toner confirmed that Ambassador Stephen Bosworth “has decided to step down from his position as special representative for North Korea policy” following the Geneva talks.
He indicated that Bosworth will be succeeded by Ambassador Glyn Davies, who is currently U.S. ambassador to the IAEA in Vienna.
“It’s important to stress this is a change in personnel, not a change in policy,” he stressed.
He affirmed that “our goal is to ensure a smooth transition and to reinforce the continuity in U.S. policy toward North Korea.” Toner noted that Bosworth is going to lead the delegation to the meetings in Geneva, as well as introduce Davies to the DPRK delegation.
As for the Geneva talks, Toner said “we’re open to talks. These are exploratory in nature.”
“We want to see if North Korea is indeed prepared to take steps to fulfill its commitments under the 2005 joint statement of the Six-Party Talks, and we want to see it take steps toward denuclearization,” he said.
He stressed “what we want to see is a seriousness of purpose. We’re not going to, as we’ve said many times, reward North Korea just for returning to the table nor give them anything new for actions they’ve agreed to take.”