WASHINGTON – US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced on Thursday the appointment of Stephen Biegun as special envoy to Pyongyang with the aim of guaranteeing the “final, fully verified denuclearization of North Korea,” where he is scheduled to travel next week with the top US diplomat.
“The State Department has already done excellent work in implementing and sustaining the pressure campaign, putting together the first-ever leader-level summit in Singapore, and laying the groundwork to hold North Korea accountable to the promises that Chairman Kim has made. As the special representative, Steve will lead negotiations and spearhead diplomatic efforts with our allies and partners,” said Pompeo during a ceremony at the Department of State in Washington.
The top US diplomat also announced his intention to travel next week with Biegun to North Korea to “continue” Washington’s efforts to reach a “diplomatic solution” that would end bilateral tensions.
The aim of this new visit, Pompeo said, will be to provide continuity to the negotiations launched by President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un at the summit they held on June 12 in Singapore.
“Using diplomacy to resolve the North Korean security threat once and for all remains one of President Trump’s greatest priorities,” said Pompeo.
Biegun – who is the vice president of international governmental affairs for Ford Motor Co. – has broad government experience, having served in the administration of President Gerald Ford (1974-1977), and he worked to advise National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice during the first term of President George W. Bush (2001-2009).
“I fully understand the importance of this job ... and what you expect from all of us in achieving a more peaceful world. The issues are tough, and they will be tough to resolve. 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,” said Biegun during the announcement.
Pompeo’s trip to North Korea next week will be his fourth visit to the Asian nation since last April.