US envoy on DPRK to hold 9-day Asia tour

Updated: 2011-12-07 08:00

By Zhang Yunbi (China Daily)

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BEIJING - The US envoy for policy on the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) Glyn Davies will kick off a 9-day tour of the Republic of Korea (ROK), Japan and China on Wednesday, the US State Department said on Monday.

Davies will arrive in Seoul on Wednesday and head to Tokyo on Sunday, and then to Beijing next Tuesday.

In all three cities, he will meet senior government officials to exchange views on Korean Peninsula issues, said the State Department.

Davies' agenda shows that the United States has no choice but to resume the Six-Party Talks against the backdrop of the DPRK's drive for uranium enrichment, said Professor Huang Youfu, a researcher on Korean studies at Minzu University of China.

The ROK should scrap the preconditions it has set for the talks' resumption, said Huang, who added that, during his trip, Davies is expected to exchange views with Seoul and then send messages to Beijing and Pyongyang.

Meanwhile, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement on its website on Tuesday that Xu Bu, the ministry's deputy representative for Korean Peninsula affairs, paid a visit to the DPRK from Nov 28 to Dec 2.

Arriving in Seoul on Wednesday, Davies will hold talks with ROK Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan and Unification Minister Yu Woo-ik, Japanese news agency Jiji Press reported.

During his trip to Japan, Davies will exchange notes with the Japanese Foreign Ministry's Asian and Oceanian Secretary Shinsuke Sugiyama, Japan's chief delegate to the Six-Party Talks, according to Kyodo News Agency.

The US special envoy to the Six-Party Talks Clifford Hart, who took office in June, will accompany Davies, who replaced his predecessor Stephen Bosworth in October, on this trip, the statement added.

It will be Davies' first trip to the region since he took up the post. He was previously the US ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency.

"He is obviously new on the job," Mark Toner, deputy spokesman of the US State Department, said at a daily news briefing on Monday. "He is looking forward to exchanging views on possible next steps with the counterparts."

Washington's decision to change its special envoy to the Six-Party Talks and its envoy for policy on the DPRK shows that the US wants to break the deadlock on the Korean Peninsula issue, said Huang.

The Six-Party Talks were launched in 2003, but got bogged down in December 2008 after six rounds were held. The DPRK quit the talks in 2009.

Pyongyang has said that it is ready to resume without preconditions the multilateral negotiations, a mechanism involving the DPRK, the ROK, the US, China, Japan and Russia.

Xinhua and AP contributed to this story.