America’s top North Korean envoy is stepping down

America’s top North Korean envoy is stepping down

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Joseph Yun (center) during his time as U.S. Ambassador to Malaysia. October 10, 2013. State Department Photo/William Ng
Joseph Yun (center) during his time as U.S. Ambassador to Malaysia. October 10, 2013. State Department Photo/William Ng

Joseph Yun joined the Foreign Service in the 1980's and has been a longtime proponent of diplomatic engagement with North Korea.

The top U.S. diplomat assigned to set North Korean policy and interact with the Kim regime will resign on Friday, citing unspecified personal reasons.

Joseph Yun joined the Foreign Service in the mid-1980’s and later served in senior diplomatic roles during the administrations of George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

In 2016 he took on the job of U.S. Special Representative for North Korea policy and set to work creating a diplomatic backchannel with North Korean officials in New York. Yun also engaged in frequent shuttle diplomacy on the North Korean issue, making numerous trips to Japan and South Korea to liaise with American allies.

While Yun did not provide any details about his resignation on Tuesday, he has been a vocal proponent of diplomatic engagement with North Korea at a time President Donald Trump and other senior administration officials talk up military options.

Last month, the rumored pick to serve as U.S. Ambassador to South Korea, Victor Cha, was reportedly withdrawn from consideration after saying he opposed the idea of a pre-emptive military strike against North Korea.

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