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Will Diplomacy Prevail?

Will Diplomacy Prevail?According to the Fletcher dean, Beijing’s six-way talks on North Korea’snuclear threats represent a forward step, but aren’t likely to produce a major breakthrough. Beijing

Medford/Somerville, Mass. [08.26.03] On Wednesday, world leaders from six countries will begin three days of talks regarding North Korea's nuclear threats. President Bush has heralded the summit in Beijing between North Korea, Japan, Russia, South Korea, China and the United States as a step towards easing tensions in the region. Despite hope for major progress, Tufts' Stephen Bosworth, dean of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, says it is unlikely that the meeting will produce results.

"Like many other analysts, Stephen Bosworth, former U.S. ambassador to South Korea, does not hold much hope for significant achievements in the upcoming talks," reported The Korea Herald.

The Fletcher dean - interviewed by the Herald while in South Korea for the Seoul International General Meeting of the Pacific Basin Economic Council - said that he was pleased with the inclusion of South Korea, Japan and Russia in the talks, scheduled to occur August 27 - 29.

"The fact that there are six-way talks is important because Bush has been saying that the region should be more involved," Bosworth told the Herald.

The inclusion of Japan - which has complained of its citizens being kidnapped by North Korea - also brings new issues to the table.

"This is a burning political issue for Japan, so they will have to bring this up at one point," Bosworth said. "And if they bring it up at the six-way talks, they would coordinate it with the rest of the countries attending those talks."

However, Bosworth expressed little hope that significant progress would be made to resolve the ongoing threats made by North Korea with its nuclear program.

"I think it will be very difficult to see any breakthroughs," he told the Herald.

Bosworth - whose research interests include US-Korean relations and arms control and disarmament - told the newspaper that without the concession of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il to nuclear inspections, it will be difficult to secure the region.

"If North Korea does not allow inspections, there simply won't be an agreement," Bosworth told the newspaper. "You can't sign an agreement with North Korea based on trust."

But despite doubts about North Korea's willingness to agree to inspections, the Fletcher dean told the Herald that U.S. military action to disable the nation's suspected nuclear facilities is not likely because of their proximity to American ally South Korea.

"Everybody recognizes that South Korea is the country with the most to lose," Bosworth told the Herald. "So there's a lot of pressure to move towards a [diplomatic] solution."

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