About the Author
Hamish Macdonald is an NK News contributor and has previously worked at The Korea Herald and for the Australia Centre for Independent Journalism in Sydney.
The U.S. has appointed former Ford Motors Vice President Stephen Biegun as the new Special Representative for North Korea, the U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced on Thursday.
Pompeo also announced that the two will be traveling to North Korea for further diplomatic negotiations with DPRK representatives, a trip that will represent Pompeo’s fourth visit to the country.
“I am excited to announce this morning that Steve Biegun is joining our team as the Special Representative for North Korea,” Pompeo told the press during a State Department briefing in Washington.
“Steve will direct U.S. policy toward North Korea and lead our efforts to achieve President Trump’s goal of the final, fully verified denuclearization of North Korea as agreed to by Chairman Kim Jong Un.”
Pompeo introduced Biegun to the press, who made a similar statement regarding the denuclearization of the Peninsula and the U.S. policy line.
“The issues are tough and they will be tough to resolve, but the President has created an opening and it is one that we must take by seizing every possible opportunity to realize the vision for a peaceful future for the people of North Korea,” Biegun said.
“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,” he added.
The position of Special Representative for North Korea has been absent since Obama appointee Ambassador Joseph Yun announced his retirement in February.
Biegun is assuming the role after vacating his position as Vice President of International Governmental Affairs at the Ford Motor Company.
Biegun previously served for 14 years as a foreign policy advisor to both the U.S. Congress and Senate and was Chief of Staff of the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations between 1999 and 2000. He also served as a staff member of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs for six years.
He has also worked in the executive branch between 2001 and 2003 under President George W. Bush in the position of Executive Secretary of the National Security Council.
According to his biography on Ford Motor’s website, Biegun served as a senior staff member to the National Security Advisor, Condoleezza Rice, and performed the function of Chief Operating Officer for the National Security Council.
Pompeo, in announcing Biegun’s new role, took time on Thursday to praise the work already conducted by personnel at the State Department with regard to North Korea.
The State Department, he said, had done a great job at “implementing and sustaining the pressure campaign”, staging a leader level summit and “laying the groundwork to hold North Korea accountable to the promises that Chairman Kim has made”.
While Pompeo said that he and Biegun will travel to North Korea next week, he did not say if they would be meeting with Kim Jong Un directly.
Featured Image: State Department