Biegun says will not take up ambassadorship in Russia: Yonhap

Lim Chang-won Reporter() | Posted : August 21, 2019, 12:47 | Updated : August 21, 2019, 12:47

Yonhap News Photo

SEOUL -- U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun on Wednesday rejected media speculation about his possible ambassadorship in Russia, pledging to "remain focused" on making progress in nuclear talks with North Korea.

Biegun made the remarks after his talks with South Korean counterpart Lee Do-hoon in Seoul, amid growing expectations that Washington and Pyongyang would resume their working-level negotiations on the North's nuclear disarmament.

"First regarding our negotiating team, I wanted to dispel any rumors that I will be leaving this portfolio to take up an ambassadorship abroad," he said. "I will not be taking up a diplomatic posting in the Russia Federation and I will remain focused on making progress on North Korea," he added.

The U.S. envoy also stressed that "as agreed by" North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, President Donald Trump gave his team the assignment to re-start the talks with the North following the leaders' impromptu meeting at the inter-Korean border on June 30. "I am fully committed to this important mission. We will get this done," Biegun said.

He went on to say, "We are prepared to engage as soon as we hear from our counterparts in North Korea."

Biegun kicked off his official schedule for a series of meetings with senior Seoul officials, including Unification Minister Kim Yeon-chul. He arrived here from Japan on Tuesday for a three-day visit. His trip came as the conclusion of a combined South Korea-U.S. military exercise raised the prospects for the resumption of working-level nuclear negotiations between Washington and Pyongyang.

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