SEOUL – The sudden departure of the US diplomat over North Korea underscores the stubborn divisions in the Trump administration over the value of diplomacy with North Korea.
The North Korean Foreign Ministry's Special Representative in an e-mail confirmed that he is leaving the post but has not explained his reasons.
Current and former officials suggested that the longtime diplomat would be partially withdrawn because he feels that his efforts are going as far as possible and that Trump's support, which he needs to support his diplomacy, is not supported. Yun's departure, expected on Friday, comes at a critical juncture, with North Korea signaling its willingness to speak with Washington and South Korea, encouraging the Trump administration to find a way to dialogue
Kim Jong Us
There have been differences in the Trump administration about the benefits of negotiations and their opportunities, even though tensions on the peninsula seem to be relaxing. Yun and others in the State Department wanted to hold talks with Pyongyang ̵
has urged Washington to do so.
White House officials, however, want to see meaningful indications that North Korea is prepared to withdraw its nuclear arsenal before negotiations begin, suggesting that Pyongyang is still trying to drive a wedge between Washington and Seoul, officials said.
"We only want to talk in the right conditions," the president said
said Monday in the White House.
the Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman attributed Mr. Yun with the departure for "personal reasons." Secretary of State
asked Mr. Yun if he wanted to stay, but he called for it, a government official said.
"We are fully convinced that we have excellent, skilled and experienced people who will continue and continue this campaign, and our policies have not changed," said Mrs. Nauert. There are no immediate plans for a new Special Envoy to follow Mr. Yun, she said.
Tensions over North Korea seem to have eased after the boom last year, especially following Trump's warning last summer that Pyongyang would be exposed to "fire and rage" if it continues to threaten the US [19659-04] Rocket test since the end of November, and the US and South Korea are expected to not conduct joint military exercises until April.
Www.mjfriendship.de/de/index.php?op…80&Itemid=58 This month he had agreed to meet with North Korean representatives at the Winter Olympics, but Pyongyang canceled the meeting. Englisch: www.mjfriendship.de/en/index.php?op…95&Itemid=55. The Trump administration has not formulated a longer-term approach in the talks.
"If the government is serious about diplomacy, it must have the right person and it must have a game board, and it's not clear yet if it's already done," Joel S. Wit said. a senior associate at the US-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University and a former State Department official.
"No one in the administration has his experience," Mr. Wit added, referring to Mr. Yun.
Mr. Yun participated in the so-called New York Channel of Temporary Contact at the United Nations and communicated with the envoy there of North Korea.
A government official said Deputy Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs
Anyone nominated for this role, as well as Marc Knapper, the best US diplomat in Seoul, would take on additional responsibilities with Mr. Yun's departure.
Meanwhile, the Trump administration is looking for a candidate who has been free since January last year to become US Ambassador to South Korea. Last month, the White House withdrew its nomination from Victor Cha, a highly respected Korea expert involved in the management of
George W. Bush.
Mr. Cha had opposed the idea of a limited military strike against North Korea, a possibility negotiated by Mr. Trump. Yun, who was born in South Korea and is in his early 60s, had rumored he was considering an exit – especially as tensions between the US and North Korea escalated last year, said Go Myung-hyun, a research fellow at Asan University Institute Think Tank in Seoul
"Yun was aware that he could do little," said Mr. Go.
Mr. Yun, who previously served as ambassador to Malaysia, has been the North Korea's foreign affairs spokesman since 2016 when he was appointed by the president
Last year he helped secure the release of Otto Warmbier, a University of Virginia student who was detained in North Korea for 17 months and died soon after returning to the US
. The departure of Yun is part of a broader exodus of high-ranking foreign ministry experts, some violent and some voluntary. Michael Ratney, the Special Envoy for Syria, has been forced out of office to make room for a political representative, John Hannah said. But Mr. Hannah ultimately decided not to accept the job, and the post office remains empty.
Tom Shannon, the official of State Department No. 3 and a foreign affairs official, recently announced plans to retire once Mr. Tillerson chooses his successor. In recent months, senior Middle East officials have also left their posts, and the Trump administration fired several top officials last year when Mr Tillerson arrived.
Jonathan Cheng from Seoul and Chris Gordon from Washington contributed to this article.
Write to Felicia Schwartz at Felicia.Schwartz@wsj.com and Andrew Jeong at email@example.com