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Ford Motor Co. VP Named New Special Envoy to North Korea

Special Representative for North Korea Steven Biegun, with Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo, addresses the press at the State Department in Washington on Aug. 23, 2018. (State Department photo)

WASHINGTON — Secretary of State Mike Pompeo today announced that a Ford Motor Co. executive will lead effort to engage North Korea as the new special representative to the communist country.

Stephen Biegun “will direct U.S. policy towards North Korea” and lead efforts toward a goal of “final, fully verified denuclearization.”

Introducing Biegun today at the State Department, Pompeo said he and the new envoy will head back to Pyongyang next week “to make further diplomatic progress towards our objective.”

“As the special representative, Steve will lead negotiations and spearhead diplomatic efforts with our allies and partners,” Pompeo said.

Biegun, vice president of international governmental affairs at Ford, was rumored at one point to be under consideration for the job of national security advisor at the White House. He served on National Security Council staff in the George W. Bush administration and was a national security adviser to former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.). His background is heavy on Russia and European policy instead of concentrating on East Asia, save for board membership on the US-ASEAN Business Council; he’s a board member of the U.S. Russia Foundation that was established by Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Moscow School of Politics and the U.S.-Russia Business Council.

“Using diplomacy to resolve the North Korean security threat once and for all remains one of President Trump’s greatest priorities, and Steve is eminently qualified for the task and clear-eyed in the challenge before us,” Pompeo said. “I’m fully confident that he will be able to lead our mission in ensuring a secure future for the American people and – we hope – a far brighter future for the people of North Korea.”

Biegun said that “the issues are tough, and they will be tough to resolve,” but the current opening is “one that we must take by seizing every possible opportunity to realize the vision for a peaceful future for the people of North Korea.”

“I will work closely with my colleagues here at the State Department and throughout the U.S. government, as well as our allies and partners around the world, to achieve our shared goal of a safer and more peaceful world,” he said.

Pompeo did not take any questions.