The U.S. is set to begin a fresh round of talks with North Korea on its nuclear weapons program next week. The new talks are set for Monday and Tuesday in Geneva, U.S. officials said. The two sides had held preliminary negotiations in New York in late July, signaling a slight warming after the deep chill produced by the reclusive regime’s continued nuclear activities, its testing of long range missiles and what the South said was Pyongyang’s sinking of a South Korean submarine killing 46 sailors and a naval patrol vessel plus the shelling of an island.
Glyn Davies, US ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency, will replace the current envoy, Stephen Bosworth, according to US officials and a Washington based foreign diplomat. Mr. Davies, combines backgrounds both on nuclear and Asian issues. Before moving to the International Atomic Energy Agency, he held a senior position in the U.S. State Department’s bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs. Bosworth is still expected to lead next week’s talks in Geneva before standing down, an official said.
Both developments indicate that the US wants to step up negotiations with Pyongyang amid enduring worries over its nuclear weapons programme. Last year North Korea unveiled a uranium enrichment program that could give it another means of generating fissile material for nuclear bombs.
The US and North Korea also have negotiated this week on resuming after six years the search for remains of thousands of American service members missing from the 1950-53 Korean War. The two sides started talks Tuesday in Bangkok, Thailand.