US Places Diplomat in N. Korea

First Pyongyang official lays groundwork for permanent presence
By Peter Fearon,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 26, 2007 10:05 AM CST
North Korean workers and students perform at North Korea's biggest propaganda spectacle, called the Arirang, at the May Day stadium in Pyongyang, North Korea, Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2007. Washington has stationed...   (Associated Press)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – Washington has had a "permanent" diplomat stationed in Pyongyang since mid-month, a source tells the South Korean newspaper Chosun Ilbo, marking the first time a US official has been assigned full-time to North Korea. The move is seen as a precursor to possible normalization of relations between the US and North Korea.

The diplomat, who is using the Koryo Hotel as a de facto office, "is mainly carrying out administrative liaison efforts between the US and North Korea," a Washington source told the newspaper. A second senior diplomat is expected to be assigned to North Korea should Pyongyang make good on its promises to disable its main nuclear facilities by year's end.