Top US negotiator to North Korea in surprise resignation

Japan responds guardedly

Joseph Yun, the US special representative for North Korea, is set to step down, the State Department said on Monday, in a move that comes as Kim Jong Un's regime says it's willing to hold talks with Washington.

South Korean-born Joseph Yun, a strong advocate for engagement with Pyongyang, has led the USA outreach to North Korea, quietly pursuing direct diplomacy, since taking his post under former President Barack Obama in 2016.

Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha and her Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, met in Geneva earlier in the day (local time) on the sidelines of the U.N. Human Rights Council meeting, according to the ministry.

Yun, a 32-year foreign service veteran, told US media his retirement was a personal decision and that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had tried to persuade him to stay.

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said Yun made a decision to leave for personal reasons and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had no choice but to accept his resignation.

It was not clear why Yun had chose to retire so suddenly.

He has warned that if the latest sanctions do not work, "we'll have to go to phase two. We need a whole of government approach".

The White House nominated Susan Thornton in December as assistant secretary for East Asian and Pacific affairs, the State Department's top post for the region, but she has yet to be confirmed by Congress. Thornton now serves as acting assistant secretary. On Monday, Trump responded to the North's reported overture by saying talks will happen only "under the right conditions". US Persons are also required to block any property or interests in property of the designated persons that comes into their possession or control.

Many analysts say North Korea will never agree to talks if it has to promise to give up nuclear weapons.

North Korea, however, said in a statement Sunday that it considers "any type of blockade an act of war against us". A North Korean diplomat told Reuters that the delegation has asked to reply to Kang's remarks, but under United Nations rules will only be allowed to do so when the council's high-level session ends on Wednesday and its general session begins.

"He's such a dreamer", a White House official said at the time, with a note of sarcasm.

Beyond the proliferation risk, those arguing for military action believe a nuclear North Korea would be emboldened to use conventional military forces and other pressure against US allies South Korea, Japan and others in the region to accomplish strategic goals including steps toward the eventual reunification of the Korean Peninsula on North Korean terms.

Most were deeply skeptical about his chances.

Yun visited Pyongyang in June to secure the release of USA college student Otto Warmbier, who had been imprisoned for 17 months for stealing a propaganda poster.

"It's definitely sad news", said Andrei Lankov, a North Korea expert at Kookmin University in Seoul.

Related News:

Most liked

Pakistan holds Senate election, security beefed up
Today, Pakistanis will go to the polls to elect 46 of 104 senate seats in a key bellwether for the lower house general elections later this year.

Kylie Jenner is being mom-shamed and the reason is ridiculous
In that picture the star posed with her daughter while wearing a tracksuit, looking unlike nearly any first-time mother ever. I knew my baby would feel every stress and every emotion, so I chose to do it this way for my little life and our happiness.

UFC 222 Cheat Sheet: Cris Cyborg vs. Yana Kunitskaya
The odds were stacked against UFC 222 from the beginning, and now the top of betting boards across the valley reflect as much. However, even an incarnation of " Cyborg " in less-than-ideal shape presents as stylistic poison for Kunitskaya.

United Nations chief condemns attacks in Burkina Faso
The city's military headquarters and the embassy - which is also near the prime minister's office - are about one kilometre apart. French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told LCI TV there were "no French casualties, as far as we're aware".

LL Bean Ends Sale of Firearms to Customers Under 21 Years Old
Dick's decision to get out of the AR market "Is not going to impact anything", Waltz said. "We do shop at Dick's on occasion". It doesn't sell bump stocks, the accessory attached to a semi-automatic gun that makes it easier to fire rounds faster.

Parents asked to stay off university campus
The shooting took place around 9:30 Campbell Hall, which is part of the Towers residence halls on the west side of campus. President Donald Trump was briefed on the shooting, according to White House deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley.

Does WWE have a Brock Lesnar problem ahead of WrestleMania 34?
Brock Lesnar's time with the WWE appears to be coming to an end, making his return to the UFC all the more possible. This suspension, if he accepts, would lead him to not enter the UFC fight scene until August of this year.

McLaren Senna Carbon Theme, 'surprise announcement' at Geneva
There are more options to come for the Senna to tempt owners to part with cash, including a carbon fibre wheel option. The cabin is trimmed in Carbon Black Alcantara and S (for Senna ) logos feature both inside and out.

United Nations to vote Monday on resolution that would condemn Iran
A council resolution needs nine votes in favor and no vetoes by Russia , China, the United States, France or Britain to pass. In all, 11 nations voted in support of the United Kingdom -sponsored resolution , with China and Kazakhstan abstaining.

Four powers condemn Iran for violating arms embargo on Yemen
Nikki Haley told reporters during a visit to Honduran capital Tegucigalpa. Iran has denied supplying the Houthis weapons.

Kushner business secured loans from bank bigs after White House meetings
A Citigroup spokeswoman said the firm's relationship with Kushner Companies was not connected to Kushner's White House role. According to government financial disclosures from previous year , he has lines of credit at the three banks, among others.

Ohio River Reaches Highest Flood Stage in 20 Years
On Thursday, New Boston Mayor Junior Williams advised the public to avoid his city completely until the waters receded. In Kentucky, 2.9 inches of rain Saturday capped off one of the wettest weeks, and months, in Louisville history .

Woman stabbed to death, man wounded at MA library
The woman, a resident of Winchester, a Boston suburb, was slashed and stabbed in the upper torso and head and died at a hospital. The district attorney says authorities are looking into the possibility that Yao and the woman knew each other.

Barcelona Manager Ernesto Valverde Reveals Lionel Messi Continues To Surprises Him
In the second half, Coutinho netted a sensational fifth before Suarez completed the rout, tapping in from Ousmane Dembele's cross. The run matches that of Real Sociedad back in 1979-80.

Alcatel launches Alcatel 5, 3 Series, and Android Go based Alcatel 1X
The Alcatel 5 is basically Alcatel's "affordable flagship" device this time around, and to be honest it doesn't look half bad. Again, what gives? Pricing is €100 for the single SIM version and €110 for the dual one - about $123 and $135, respectively.