WASHINGTON – Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday appointed a senior executive with Ford Motor Co. to be his special envoy for North Korea and said they both would visit Pyongyang next week.
Pompeo announced that he had chosen Stephen Biegun to handle day-to-day negotiations with the North over dismantling its nuclear weapons program. Pompeo has been leading the effort for President Donald Trump and has already made three trips to Pyongyang since April, although there have been few visible signs of progress in the talks.
Biegun, Ford’s vice president of international governmental affairs, was a White House staffer and aide to national security adviser Condoleezza Rice during President George W. Bush’s administration. He was also an adviser to former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and was rumored to be a contender to replace H.R. McMaster as Trump’s national security adviser.
His appointment is the latest in a series of special envoy posts filled by Pompeo, who is seeking to tap veteran diplomats and national security officials to run delicate negotiations. Last week, he appointed the State Department’s policy planning chief, Brian Hook, to run a group dedicated to Iran issues.
He also named former ambassador James Jeffrey to be special representative for Syria and is expected soon to appoint another former ambassador, Zalmay Khalilzad, to handle issues related to Afghanistan.
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