SEOUL, South Korea (AP) - U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham
Clinton named a special envoy for North Korea on Friday (Korea time), but warned the communist nation that ties with the United States will not
improve unless it stops threatening South Korea.
A day after acknowledging fears that a possible succession
crisis to replace the North's ailing leader Kim Jong Il might
complicate efforts to revive stalled talks on getting Pyongyang to
abandon nuclear weapons, Clinton said it was also critical for the
current leadership to engage in negotiations.
"We are calling on the government of North Korea to refrain
from being provocative and unhelpful in a war of words they are
engaged in because it is not fruitful," she told reporters at a
news conference with South Korean Foreign Minister Yu Myung-hwan.
The North has been steadily ramping up belligerent rhetoric,
rejecting dialogue with the South, and is thought to be preparing
to test-fire what intelligence analysts believe is a long-range
missile, which would significantly raise tensions with South Korea
Clinton said the new U.S. special representative for North
Korea, Stephen Bosworth, former U.S. ambassador to South Korea,
would work with both the South Koreans and Japanese as well as the
Chinese to look at ways to get Pyongyang back to the negotiating
She dismissed concerns that her candid comments to reporters en
route to Seoul about a possible leadership vacuum in North Korea
might prompt a severe response from Pyongyang and said the current
rulers should return to six-nation disarmament talks.
"When you are thinking about future dealings with a government
that doesn't have any clear succession - they don't have a vice
president, they don't have a prime minister - that is something to
think about," Clinton said.
"But for the purposes of what we are planning today, it is to
deal with the government that exists, the leadership that exists
and look for ways to involve them."