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Former U.S. envoy on N.K. dies

Stephen Bosworth, a former U.S. envoy for North Korea policy, died Sunday, according to the U.S.-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies, where he had worked until recently. He was 77.
Stephen Bosworth (Yonhap)
Stephen Bosworth (Yonhap)

The exact cause of his death was not immediately made public. But he is known to have contracted prostate cancer several years ago. Last November, he was scheduled to visit Seoul to attend an international forum, but his visit was canceled due to his deteriorating health.

South Korea’s Foreign Ministry expressed “deep condolences” over his death, saying that Seoul highly valued his contribution to the efforts to resolve North Korea-related issues and the development of the alliance between South Korea and the U.S.

Entering the diplomatic service in 1961, Bosworth had built up a special relationship with the two Koreas. 

For some two decades, the career diplomat had specialized in North Korean nuclear issues. Heading the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization from 1995-1997, he led the nuclear negotiations with the North in the 1990s.

From 1997-2001, he served as Washington’s ambassador to Seoul. In 2009, he was appointed as the U.S.’ special representative on North Korea policy. He worked in the position for nearly three years, leading the Barack Obama administration’s North Korea policy.

He was seen as a dovish negotiator who stressed the need to engage with North Korea. 

His other diplomatic work included spells at U.S. overseas missions including those in France and Spain. He also served as the State Department’s director of policy planning, principal deputy assistant secretary for inter-American affairs and deputy assistant secretary for economic affairs.

He had also held teaching and administrative positions at educational institutions such as Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, Dartmouth College and Tuft University’s Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.

He held a bachelor’s degree and honorary doctorate degree from Dartmouth College. 

By Song Sang-ho (