News: "The U.S. has tapped Kathleen Stephens, currently an advisor at the State Department on East Asia and Pacific Affairs, as the next ambassador to South Korea, diplomatic sources said on Wednesday. Stephens was formerly the principal deputy assistant secretary of state, and is now serving as advisor to Christopher Hill, who is assistant secretary of state and the chief U.S. envoy to the six-nation denuclearization talks on North Korea."
Commentary: This appointment seems to fit the Bush administration's prepositioning for the possibility of US-DPRK normalization and a process to officially end the Korean War with a peace treaty vis-a-vis North Korea's nuclear disarmament. If confirmed, Stephens would be an appropriate diplomat to handle these matters in Seoul, having previously served as a political officer in Seoul with fluency in Korean and currently "in charge of Korean peace treaty issues" as an advisor to Chiristopher Hill. She would replace Alexander Vershbow, who has been an outspoken hardliner against North Korea.