Advertisement

U.S. North Korea envoy dismisses Russia posting rumors

By
Elizabeth Shim
U.S. special envoy for North Korea Stephen Biegun met with South Korean officials in Seoul on Wednesday. File Photo by Yonhap/EPA-EFE
U.S. special envoy for North Korea Stephen Biegun met with South Korean officials in Seoul on Wednesday. File Photo by Yonhap/EPA-EFE

Aug. 20 (UPI) -- The United States' special envoy for North Korea said Wednesday he will not be serving as the top U.S. diplomat to Russia, quelling rumors he may be replacing Jon Huntsman Jr., following Huntsman's resignation.

Stephen Biegun, who was in South Korea to meet with officials, including Unification Minister Kim Hyun-chul, told reporters he has no plans to accept any offers for a Russia posting but will instead focus on making progress on North Korea, Yonhap news agency reported.

Advertisement

Biegun is visiting the South at a time when North Korea is turning down diplomatic engagement in favor of missile tests, which increased in frequency in July and August. Pyongyang has claimed the tests are a response to the simulated military exercises in the South, training that is preparation for an 'invasion of the North."

On Wednesday Biegun said he is ready to resume negotiations with his North Korean counterparts, referring to previous statements regarding his full commitment to carry out negotiations per directions from U.S. President Donald Trump.

RELATED Report: China boosts food aid to North Korea

The U.S. envoy had said after the June 30 Panmunjom meeting between Trump and Kim Jong Un the president had tasked him to carry out the peace pledge signed at the 2018 U.S.-North Korea summit in Singapore.

Advertisement

During a meeting between Biegun and Kim Hyun-chul, the two sides agreed to "work closely to restart North Korea negotiations," Seoul Pyongyang News reported Wednesday.

Kim reported negotiations are in a deadlock, and next steps should include "reinforcing trust" with the North Koreans.

RELATED South Koreans protest renegotiating costs of U.S. military presence

Biegun told Kim the Trump administration continues to support inter-Korea diplomatic efforts that would advance the peace process on the Korean Peninsula.

The Singapore Summit marked the first time Trump met with the North Korean leader -- a historic meeting for both countries.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in said Wednesday the U.S.-North Korea summit in Singapore in 2018 was an "unforgettable" event, while receiving credentials from Eric Teo, the new Singaporean ambassador to Seoul, according to News 1.

RELATED U.N. North Korea committee OKs goat-breeding projects

Latest Headlines