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Hill: U.S. Korea Policy Manager?

Posted December. 07, 2006 07:04,   


It was reported that a U.S. North Korea Policy Coordinator responsible for reviewing and managing the policy toward North Korea will be soon appointed. Under the 2007 National Defense Authorization Act that took effect on October 17, U.S. President George W. Bush is asked to appoint a North Korea Policy Coordinator 60 days after the Act comes into effect; December 16 is the time limit.

At present, the chief negotiator of the six-party talks and assistant secretary of state for East Asia and Pacific Affairs Christopher Hill is most likely to take the position.

On December 5, a senior source in Washington said, “As far as I know, the State Department told the White House that it wants assistant secretary Hill to take the post,” and added that however, President Bush has yet to discuss the matter with National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley. In addition, the source said, “The possibility of assistant secretary Hill being appointed is just a bit more than 50 percent.”

The White House considers assistant secretary Hill in a positive light because it can avoid making an overlapping position since Hill took a leading role in dealing with North Korea as a chief negotiator of the six-party talks and because it doesn’t have to make a radical change to policy if assistant secretary Hill becomes a coordinator, a post it was forced to make by the Congress.

However, it is still unclear since the Congress wants a senior heavyweight in the position while Hill is relatively inexperienced.

Besides Hill, former State Secretary James Baker and Republican Jim Rich, who lost the November midterm election, are on the candidate list for North Korea Policy Coordinator position.