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U.S. envoy Biegun says will focus on North Korea denuclearization, not take up Russian post

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U.S. special envoy for North Korea Stephen Biegun talks with his South Korean counterpart Lee Do-hoon during their meeting at the Foreign Ministry in Seoul, South Korea, August 21, 2019. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji/Pool

SEOUL (Reuters) – U.S. envoy on North Korea Stephen Biegun said on Wednesday he will not take up the post of ambassador to Russia but will remain focused on making progress on the denuclearization of North Korea amid stalled negotiations.

Biegun, in Seoul for talks with South Korean officials, said the United States is prepared to restart talks with North Korea as soon as North Korea is ready, in line with an agreement made by the two countries’ leaders in June.

“I will not be taking up a diplomatic posting in the Russian Federation and I will remain focused on making progress on North Korea,” Biegun told reporters after meeting with his South Korean counterpart, Lee Do-hoon.

“I am fully committed to this important mission, and we will get this done.”

Biegun, with his expertise in Russian affairs and command in the language, was under consideration to be U.S. President Donald Trump’s next ambassador to Russia, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters last week.

Reporting by Hyonhee Shin; Additional reporting by Joyce Lee; Editing by Paul Tait and Michael Perry

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via Reuters