Joseph Yun, the US special representative for North Korea, is set to step down, the State Department said on Monday, in a move that comes as Kim Jong Un's regime says it's willing to hold talks with Washington.
North Korea is "persistently pursuing its nuclear and missile programs at the cost of the daily lives and welfare of its people", Horii said, emphasizing that it is critical to apply maximum pressure on the country and urge it to cooperate with the global community, which includes the resolution of the abductions issue.
Yun joins a long list of experienced diplomats and other officials who have abandoned the State Department amid the Trump administration's efforts to drastically slash the budget and downgrade the role of US foreign policy on the global stage, critics say. "Secretary [of State Rex] Tillerson has told me he appreciates my service and did not want me to go, but he accepts it reluctantly".
A rapprochement between the two Koreas, inspired by South Korea's recent hosting of the Winter Olympics, offers a glimmer of hope for diplomacy.
The North Korean delegation to the Olympics returned to Pyongyang Tuesday, officially ending this round of sports-related politics aimed at trying to resolve the North Korea crisis.
"I don't see any kind of policy that will achieve the desired result, a non-nuclear North Korea", Lankov concluded.
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He also stepped down from the board of food and drinks giant Kraft Heinz on Friday but was tight-lipped on succession yesterday. He admitted that the struggle in finding a "sensible purchase price" had "proved a barrier to virtually all deals" a year ago .
Yun told CNN "it was completely my decision to retire at this time", but he declined to comment to Reuters when asked in an email why he was leaving. Doctors said he had obtained a "severe neurological injury" of unknown cause while in North Korean custody.
Washington should make the right move if it wants dialogue with Pyongyang, a pro-North Korea newspaper based in Japan said. "And we can not allow reckless actions or tweets from President Trump to lead us into a nuclear crisis with North Korea". "Joe Yun is the only senior official left at State who has experience dealing with the complexities of North Korea policy".
The North hasn't tested a nuclear device or ballistic missile for months.
Trump on Monday reiterated his willingness to talk, but only under the right conditions.
North Korea's November ICBM "has not yet shown to be a capable threat against us right now", Mattis said at the time. Trump has warned Pyongyang of "phase two" if sanctions do not work.