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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.”

Go deeper: Biden's Korean War diplomacy

Go deeper

Biden's Korean War diplomacy

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi bows to South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Thursday. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images/Bloomberg via Getty Images

South Korean President Moon Jae-in's visit Friday to the White House includes a high honor: a foreign head of state's participation in a Medal of Honor ceremony.

Why it matters: The decision to include Moon in the honoring of Ralph Puckett Jr., 94, of Georgia, a retired Army colonel and Korean War hero, says a lot about President Biden's approach to diplomacy, the military and domestic politics.

Miriam Kramer, author of Space
3 mins ago - Science

A new NASA astronaut corps for the next era in space

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

NASA's next crewed missions to the Moon will need a larger, differently-trained and multi-skilled astronaut corps to deliver on the agency's ambitions.

Why it matters: NASA has plans to fly astronauts to the surface of the Moon in 2025 and ultimately establish a long-term presence there. That goal requires a robust corps with new, specialized training in what it takes to live and work on the Moon — and NASA needs to start planning now.

China builds its own movie empire

Expand chart
Data: Gower Street citing Comscore; Chart: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

China blocked all four of Disney's Marvel movies from being released in its theaters last year, a grim sign for U.S. film giants being squeezed out of the world's fastest-growing box office.

Why it matters: The Chinese Communist Party is using domestic films as a key conduit for mass messaging aimed at achieving political goals, leaving little room for foreign views.