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Politics Respected N.Korea envoy tapped as US State number two

07:30  01 november  2019
07:30  01 november  2019 Source:   msn.com

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US special envoy to North Korea Stephen Biegun, pictured August 2019, will replace outgoing Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan (AFP Photo/JONATHAN ERNST). Shaun TANDON. November 1, 2019, 1:26 AM. President Donald Trump announced Biegun's nomination to replace Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan, who has been tapped to be ambassador to Russia. The nomination is drawing particular attention amid growing speculation that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will run for Senate next year in Kansas, meaning that Biegun could become the acting top US diplomat, at least

North Korea fired two suspected missiles into the sea between the Korean peninsula and Japan on Thursday, according to military officials in Japan and South Korea , ending nearly a month-long lull in testing. " We are aware of reports of a North Korean missile launch. We are continuing to monitor the situation and consulting closely with our allies in Japan and South Korea ," a U . S . State Department spokesman said on Thursday of the latest launches. U . S . Senator Cory Gardner, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on East Asia said North Korea was engaged "in increasingly

Stephen Biegun, a respected US foreign policy veteran in the difficult job of leading diplomacy with North Korea, was named Thursday as the State Department number two -- a role that could become even more key in coming months.

a group of people standing next to a man in a suit and tie: US special envoy to North Korea Stephen Biegun, pictured August 2019, will replace outgoing Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan© JONATHAN ERNST US special envoy to North Korea Stephen Biegun, pictured August 2019, will replace outgoing Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan

President Donald Trump announced Biegun's nomination to replace Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan, who has been tapped to be ambassador to Russia.

The nomination is drawing particular attention amid growing speculation that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will run for Senate next year in Kansas, meaning that Biegun could become the acting top US diplomat, at least briefly.

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US Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun is questioned by reporters upon his arrival at Incheon International Airport in South Korea in February. Photo: AP. Respected North Korea envoy Stephen Biegun tapped as Donald Trump’s Deputy Secretary of State . Biegun nominated to replace John Sullivan, who is expected to become ambassador to Russia. Potential Senate run by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo means Biegun could become the acting top US diplomat.

US President Donald Trump said that "nobody's happy" after North Korea raised the pressure over the future of their deadlocked nuclear negotiations by launching two short-range missiles. Trump's second summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Hanoi in February broke up without an agreement or even a joint statement as the two failed to reach a deal on what Pyongyang would be willing to give up in exchange for relief from sanctions imposed over its banned nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programmes.

Biegun, whose nomination requires Senate confirmation, will remain as the special representative on North Korea, a position he took last year after Trump's historic first summit with leader Kim Jong Un, a US official said.

Biegun initially received a cold shoulder from North Korean officials who, mindful that the countries' leaders were negotiating directly about Pyongyang's nuclear program, saw little reason to deal with an envoy on anything other than summit logistics.

But Biegun enjoyed a breakthrough of sorts in early October when he met North Korea's lead negotiator Kim Myong Gil in Sweden.

North Korea walked away from the talks, denouncing the US attitude, but the United States issued a comparatively upbeat statement saying that Biegun never planned to resolve all issues in a day and that the two sides would meet again.

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North Korea 's lead negotiator in nuclear talks with the US , Kim Yong Chol, arrived in Washington Thursday, just hours after President Donald Trump rolled out a new missile defense strategy that appears to contradict his own claim that Pyongyang is no longer a nuclear threat.

Two days later Secretary of Defense George C. Marshall sent him a personal message, marked for his eyes only, which stated that he should feel free tactically and strategically to proceed north of the 38th Parallel. President Harry Truman himself had approved this message. The selection of Wonsan as the site of the projected X Corps landing in northeast Korea had been based on a number of factors. Situated at the southwest side of a large bay which bulges inland from the Japan Sea, Wonsan is the principal port on the east coast of Korea ; it is the eastern terminus of the easiest route across North

- Wide support -

At a time of deep polarization in Washington, Biegun, 56, has won respect for his affability and for offering cogent analysis rather than ideological lectures.

A lifelong Republican, Biegun spent his career in behind-the-scenes roles in Congress and in former president George W. Bush's administration, where he served in senior staff positions at the White House and State Department.

Former secretary of state Condoleezza Rice voiced "tremendous respect" for Biegun, calling him a "very strong diplomat, but also an exceptional manager."

William Cohen, defense secretary under Democratic president Bill Clinton, in a statement praised Biegun's "unassailable reputation for intelligence, integrity and independence" and said he had "gained the respect of others across the political spectrum and around the world."

a man wearing a suit and tie: Stephen Biegun, seen here in June 2019, has won respect across the aisle in a polarized Washington© Lee Jin-man Stephen Biegun, seen here in June 2019, has won respect across the aisle in a polarized Washington

Unlike Sullivan, who is expected to be confirmed to go to Moscow, Biegun's expertise in fact lies in Russia, where he lived from 1992 to 1994 as part of US democracy promotion work.

In an interview with an alumni publication at the University of Michigan, Biegun recalled that he became fascinated by Russia when a high school history teacher wrote "tsar" in Cyrillic script.

"It was one of the most exotic things I'd ever seen. It left such an impression on me that I went to the town library and checked out a book to teach myself Russian," he said.

A native of Michigan, Biegun was the third generation of his family to work at the Ford Motor Corp., handling the auto giant's relations with foreign governments before being tapped as the North Korea envoy.

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