The Cable

Frank Jannuzi to head Amnesty International D.C. office

Longtime Senate staffer and respected Asia hand Frank Jannuzi is leaving government to take over the leadership of the Washington, D.C., office of Amnesty International, the organization announced today.

"Frank's been a special staffer and advisor to me these last 15 years on the Committee. I got to know him well while I chaired the East Asia subcommittee, and came to appreciate his deep expertise, non-partisan approach, and unbelievably collegial style," Jannuzi's soon to be former boss Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC) Chairman John Kerry (D-MA) said in a press release. "He's passionate about the cause and incredibly smart and strategic about the best way to advance the issues he works on in the hurly burly of American foreign policy. That's what you want always, an activist's heart and an ambassador's skilled approach."

Jannuzi's most recent title was policy director for East Asian and Pacific Affairs for the Democratic staff of the SFRC. He was also Vice President Joe Biden's top Asia staffer and was active in the Obama-Biden campaign in 2008, often acting as a surrogate and spokesman on foreign policy. Many Asia hands were surprised when Jannuzi was not brought into the administration following the Obama-Biden victory.

His accomplishments as a staffer include being a key player on several pieces of Asia-related legislation, including the JADE Act on Burma and the North Korea Human Rights Act. Jannuzi also led bipartisan staff delegations to investigate conditions in Tibet, Burma, China and North Korea. He previously worked at the State Department, the Council on Foreign Relations, and Keio University in Japan.

"I am very excited to have Frank join my leadership team, as I know his skills and experience will be major assets to AIUSA and Amnesty International's global movement," said Suzanne Nossel, the recently named executive director of Amnesty International USA. "This is a critical time for the fight for human rights in our nation and around the world. Frank's political and policy knowledge coupled with his insight and personal relationships will bring a renewed vigor to Amnesty International's presence in Washington, D.C."

The Cable

Senate Republicans accuse Obama of North Korea 'appeasement'

The Obama administration is close to finalizing a deal to send 240,000 tons of food aid to North Korea, but there are at least 5 U.S. senators who think that constitutes "appeasement" of the North Korean regime.

"We write to express our serious concern about the administration's decision to provide food aid to North Korea in exchange for hollow commitments on denuclearization," reads a March 15 letter to President Barack Obama signed by Sens. Jon Kyl (R-AZ), James Inhofe (R-OK), Marco Rubio (R-FL), John Cornyn (R-TX), and James Risch (R-ID), obtained by The Cable.

"Despite continual assurances from senior administration officials that past mistakes of both Republican and Democratic administrations would not be repeated, it is evident to us that the Obama administration is embracing a policy of appeasement with Pyongyang."

The senators argue in the letter that giving food aid to North Korea in exchange for promises related to its nuclear program sends the wrong message to other would-be proliferators. And they charge the administration with breaking its promise not to reward Pyongyang for "buying the same horse twice," as former Defense Secretary Bob Gates once put it.

U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Glyn Davies and Special Envoy to the Six Party Talks Clifford Hart traveled to Beijing for meetings with top DPRK officials last month, the first U.S.-North Korean direct talks since the December death of Kim Jong Il. After those meetings, the State Department said that the DPRK has agreed to implement a moratorium on long-range missile launches, nuclear tests, and nuclear activities at Yongbyon, including uranium enrichment activities, and agreed to the return of IAEA inspectors to verify and monitor the moratorium on uranium enrichment activities at their Yongbyon nuclear site.

The administration argues that the food aid and the nuclear discussions are not linked, but the food aid deal was announced at the same time as the agreement on the nuclear concessions.

And already, there are signs the agreement may be in trouble. Today, North Korea announced it would use a long-range missile to launch a satellite into space next month to mark what would have been the 100th birthday of founding father Kim Il Sung.

"Such a missile launch would pose a threat to regional security and would also be inconsistent with North Korea's recent undertaking to refrain from long-range missile launches," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said in a statement.