WASHINGTON (AP) — The senior U.S. diplomat who has retained back-channel contacts with North Korea amid high tension over the pariah nation’s nuclear program is retiring.
The State Department says Joseph Yun, a 30-year veteran of the U.S. foreign service, has decided to retire for personal reasons. Spokeswoman Heather Nauert says Secretary of State Rex Tillerson “has reluctantly accepted his decision and wished him well.”
Yun’s retirement comes amid continuing tensions but also a glimmer of diplomatic possibility after an overture from North Korea for talks with the U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday responded saying that will happen only “under the right conditions.”
Nauert says U.S. diplomatic efforts will continue based on its maximum pressure campaign to isolate North Korea until it agrees to “credible talks toward a denuclearized Korean peninsula.”