A senior US diplomat will travel to North Korea before year's end to try to pull the Koreans back into international negotiations on nuclear disarmament, the State Department said Tuesday.
Stephen Bosworth, the administration's special envoy for North Korea, also will try to get the North Koreans to recommit to an agreement they made in September 2005 - but subsequently abandoned - to verifiably rid the Korean peninsula of nuclear arms, department spokesman P.J. Crowley said.
"The bottom line here is that North Korea has to take affirmative steps toward denuclearization," Crowley said.
He declined to say whether the North Koreans had promised - during a series of recent contacts about arranging the Bosworth meeting - to rejoin the so-called six-party talks in which the US, China, Russia, Japan and South Korea have sought for six years to negotiate an end to North Korea's nuclear program.
Nor is it clear that the North Koreans are ready to embrace the September 2005 commitment they made, as part of that six-party negotiation, to abandon all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs and return to the Non-Proliferation Treaty that prohibits their production of nuclear weapons.