US appoints new special envoy for N.Korea

Washington: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he has appointed Stephen Biegun as the new special envoy for North Korea.

He also said that he and Biegun will travel to Pyongyang next week for further talks with the North Korean side, Xinhua news agency reported.

In the remarks on Thursday, Pompeo said that “it’s a very timely moment for Steve to join the team and come on board. He and I will be travelling to North Korea next week to make further diplomatic progress towards our objective”.

“As the special representative, Steve will lead negotiations and spearhead diplomatic efforts with our allies and partners,” Pompeo said, noting that “using diplomacy to resolve the North Korean security threat once and for all remains one of President Donald Trump’s greatest priorities, and Steve is eminently qualified for the task and clear-eyed in the challenge before us.”

For his part, Biegun said he fully understands the importance of this job.

“The issues are tough, and they will be tough to resolve,” he said. “But the President has created an opening, and it’s one that we must take by seizing every possible opportunity to realize the vision for a peaceful future for the people of North Korea. This begins with the final, fully verified denuclearization of North Korea as agreed by Chairman Kim Jong Un at the summit with President Trump in Singapore.”

Biegun is to continue the mission of Joseph Yun, who resigned from his post earlier this year for personal reasons.

US media outlets reported that the departure of Yun, who has been supportive of solving the Korean Peninsula issues through dialogue, was due to his long disappointment over the Trump administration’s provocations against North Korea, and diplomats’ lacking of speaking in the government’s decision-making process.