May 21, 2021 - World

Biden appoints special envoy for North Korea

Photo of Moon Jae-in and Joe Biden speaking behind podiums that are positioned next to each other

Photo: Anna Moneymaker via Getty Images

President Biden announced Friday the appointment of Sung Kim as U.S. special envoy for North Korea.

Why it matters: Kim, currently a senior official at the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, has a long career in diplomacy with Asia. Biden said he and South Korean President Moon Jae-in are both "deeply concerned" about the situation in North Korea.

His background: A South Korea native, Kim previously served as U.S. special representative for North Korea policy. At different points in his career, he was ambassador to South Korea, Indonesia and the Philippines.

  • He was also the U.S. special envoy for the Six-Party Talks, a series of meetings with other countries aimed at addressing security concerns as a result of North Korea's nuclear weapons program.

The big picture: At a press conference Friday with Biden, Moon called denuclearization the most critical issue for the U.S. and South Korea.

  • He welcomed Kim's appointment, calling it the "firm commitment of the U.S. for exploring diplomacy and its readiness for dialogue with North Korea.”

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