November 26, 2007

US Diplomats Check In at Hotel Koryo in Pyongyang

New Item: "A U.S. diplomat has been stationed permanently at the Koryo Hotel in Pyongyang since mid-November, a source said Sunday. The development comes as U.S.-North Korea relations are improving as Pyongyang implements its promise to disable its nuclear facilities at Yongbyon by the end of the year. "

Commentary: What a change. Few years ago, Washington would not talk directly with Pyongyang (remember "axis of evil"?), now a de facto US liaison office has been set up in the Koryo Hotel (pictured) in downtown Pyongyang. Will this lead to full normalization of relations? The DPRK's UN Mission office in New York City is serving as a de facto liaison counterpart in the US.

Followup: Although the US State Department denies the "permanency" aspect of its presence in Pyongyang, it is a fact that more and more US diplomats are visiting North Korea, including an upcoming visit by the Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill.

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