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Posted : 2009-08-29 21:35
Updated : 2009-08-29 21:35

Bosworth Still Likely to Visit NK, Despite Denial

Despite the official denial from the U.S. State Department that negated the earlier South Korean media reports that a special envoy from Obama was scheduled to visit North Korea next month, an influential North Korean expert in the U.S. is confident that Bosworth will still head for the reclusive nation soon, RFA said Saturday.

Leon V. Sigal, director of the Northeast Asia Cooperative Security Project at the Social Science Research Council in New York, thinks Bosworth's imminent visit to the de facto the new nuclear power is inevitable.

"Of course, he'll go. How else we are going to fix the problem?" Sigal was quoted as saying in the report.

Sigal believes Bosworth's visit will be carried out sometime mid-September when U.S. officials have returned from their Labor Day holidays and when Japan also has a new Cabinet in place after its election on Sunday.

He suspects that Bosworth likely already finished discussing it with his South Korean counterpart when he visited Seoul last week when he was part of the U.S. delegation to pay tribute to the late South Korean President Kim Dae-jung.

Sigal's view differs from that of official U.S. state department, which said that Bosworth is scheduled to visit Asian nations soon, but also said that his itinerary doesn't include a visit to the communist nation.

Nonetheless, Sigal's statement is drawing keen attention. He previously accompanied Bosworth to Pyongyang in February and correctly predicted Bill Clinton's visit to Pyongyang thee months before Clinton actually went there. He is also believed to be "well connected" with the Obama administration.

As for the State Department's wording that said Bosworth had "no immediate plans to visit" North Korea, Sigal brushed it aside as a "minor" issue of expression, adding what it meant was Bosworth doesn't have plans to visit North Korea "not tomorrow, immediately."

Sigal also said that North Korea's earlier rejection of Bosworth's visit was due to the U.S. government's stipulation that North Korea stop missile launches, adding this time the U.S. shouldn't add any conditions for the visit.

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