Washington: The United States will hold a fresh round of talks with North Korea on its nuclear weapons program next week and appoint a new full-time envoy as its seeks to deepen its engagement with the reclusive regime, officials said on Wednesday.
The US ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency, Glyn Davies, will replace the current envoy Stephen Bosworth, according to US officials and a Washington-based foreign diplomat.
Both developments indicate Washington wants to step up negotiations with Pyongyang, amid enduring worries over its nuclear weapons program after it unveiled a uranium enrichment program last year in defiance of UN Security Council resolutions.
The talks will be held in Geneva on Monday and Tuesday.
They follow preliminary negotiations between the two sides in New York in late July that ended a long hiatus in direct engagement with North Korea.
The officials and diplomat spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to discuss the matter before the formal announcement, expected later on Wednesday.
Bosworth, who has long experience in diplomacy with North Korea, has continued to serve as dean of The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University since he was appointed special representative for North Korea Policy in February 2009.
Davies is a respected career diplomat. Prior to serving at the IAEA, he held a senior position in the State Department's bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs. During the presidency of Bill Clinton, he served as the State Department's deputy spokesman.
The United States and North Korea have also 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 on Tuesday in Bangkok, Thailand.