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Obama administration forms N.K. policy team for 2nd half of 2nd term
AUGUST 26, 2014 00:57  
The appointment of Sung Kim, current U.S. ambassador to South Korea, as special representative for the State Department뭩 North Korea policy, has been reportedly confirmed. Also, Sydney Seiler, Obama`s senior adviser on North Korea, will be reportedly named the U.S. chief negotiator for six-way talks in charge of Washington-Pyongyang dialogue channel, dubbed the 밡ew York Channel, under Kim. Hence, a new team of executive secretaries for North Korea policy for the second half of President Barack Obama뭩 second term in office has been formed, comprising Daniel Russell as assistant secretary of State for the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, Sung Kim as special representative, and Seiler as special envoy.

A diplomatic source in Washington said, 밃mbassador Kim will move to replace the current Special Representative Glenn Davis who will be named ambassador to a major Asian country soon, while Advisor Seiler will move to the special envoy post, which has remained vacant for more than a year since Clifford Hart뭩 appointment as consul general to Hong Kong in June last year. Seiler will reportedly be succeeded by Allison Hooker, analyst for East Asia and Pacific affairs at the State Department뭩 Bureau of Intelligence and Research.

Prior to assuming the U.S. ambassador to South Korea post, Ambassador Kim served as the head of Korea desk and special envoy for six-way talks at the State Department, widely engaging in activities concerning South and North Korea affairs. Analysts have said he is considered a candidate suitable for the post of special representative for North Korea policy, as he participated in negotiations over North Korea뭩 nuclear development, visiting Pyongyang multiple times with Christopher Hill, former assistant secretary of State for the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, and others. He will also reportedly double as deputy assistant secretary of State for the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs to replace James Zumwalt, who was nominated as U.S. ambassador to Senegal.

Seiler is a veteran analyst who has been analyzing North Korean intelligence for more than 30 years, and has worked with the Central Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency, and the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) in the U.S. government. He learned Korean at Yonsei University, acquired a master뭩 degree in Korean studies, lived in Korea for 12 years, and is married to a Korean woman. A source in Washington said, 밪ince Kim and Seiler are experts on North Korea but belong to working-level officials, they will unlikely intervene directly in shift of the Obama administration뭩 direction in North Korea policy.

President Obama gets bills on its North Korea policy drafted through the National Security Council, which is attended by National Security Advisor Susan Rice and Secretary of State John Kerry, but majority of watchers judge that chances are currently slim the administration will seek to change its "strategic patience" policy.

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