Career diplomat Sung Kim will serve as the U.S. special envoy to North Korea, President Biden announced on Friday.
The president delivered the news alongside South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who spent the day in Washington, D.C., engaging in bilateral talks with Biden.
Kim, who until recently was U.S. ambassador to Indonesia, previously served as special envoy to multilateral six-party talks with North Korea during the Obama years.
Biden said Kim’s “deep policy expertise” would help drive efforts to engage diplomatically with North Korea and help “reduce tensions as we move toward our ultimate goal of denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”
Moon, in his remarks, said Kim’s appointment showed the Biden administration’s “firm commitment of the U.S. to explore diplomacy” with North Korea.
Earlier, Biden said both nations were “deeply concerned” about North Korea, and that the U.S. consulted “closely” with Moon’s team while reviewing its North Korea policy.
Moon’s visit to the White House marks just the second visit of a head of state to the White House during Biden’s presidency and the first bilateral meeting of the Biden era without masking in effect; that rule was imposed because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Biden met last month with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga in a meeting dictated by protocols made necessary by social distancing.