(dpa) - The US special envoy for North Korean human rights was not speaking for the US government when he criticized the six-nation negotiations with the Stalinist state aimed at ending its nuclear programme.
"He is not somebody who speaks authoritatively about the six-party talks. His comments certainly don't represent the views of the administration," State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said.
Jay Lefkowitz, who was appointed by President George W Bush in 2005 as his special envoy for human rights in North Korea, criticized the Bush administration for assuming that China and South Korea were serious about pressuring Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear programme.
He also said North Korea's failure to meet a December 31 deadline to declare the full extent of its nuclear work shows the regime is "not serious about disarming" under the agreement last February. Those comments contradicted US officials who say that while they want the declaration as soon as possible, they also want to ensure it is comprehensive.
Lefkowitz, in a speech at the conservative American Enterprise Institute Thursday, also said the human rights issue should be tied to the disarmament agreement, contravening US policy.
"I can only say that he must have been expressing his own opinions when he was speaking about his assessment of the six-party talks," McCormack said.
McCormack declined to say whether Lefkowitz has been disciplined for his remarks.