U.S. envoy quits as North Korea talks seem more likely

Japan seeks North Korean action to solve abduction issue

"He was skeptical and wary of the White House's hardline approach toward North Korea from the beginning", a senior South Korean official told Reuters, requesting anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter. He died shortly after returning to the U.S. Doctors said he had suffered a "severe neurological injury" of unknown cause while in North Korean custody. -North Korea talks aimed at denuclearization.

Congress, former US officials and foreign policy experts have criticized the administration's failure to fill this and other positions. "It's problems of engagement that have been hard". During his tenure, he helped to secure the release of Otto Warmbier, an American student detained by the North.

"All the damage that would come from a war would be worth it in terms of long-term stability and national security", Senator Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican who has had multiple conversations with President Donald Trump about North Korea, told CNN.

"We are sorry to see him retire, but our diplomatic efforts regarding North Korea will continue based on our maximum pressure campaign to isolate the DPRK [Democratic People's Republic of Korea] until it agrees to begin credible talks toward a denuclearized Korean Peninsula", department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said.

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"If the USA ignores our honest efforts for improving inter-Korean relations. but prefers provocation and confrontation, the DPRK will certainly respond", Mr Han said, using an acronym for the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

"It's regrettable that Yun is leaving at this critical moment".

Also on Monday, it was reported that South Korean President Moon Jae-in urged the U.S. and North Korea both to give ground in order to come to the negotiating table.

A rapprochement between the two Koreas, inspired by South Korea's recent hosting of the Winter Olympics, offers a glimmer of hope for diplomacy. He pointed out that it was North Korea that abruptly canceled an opportunity for talks with Vice President Mike Pence at the PyeongChang Olympics.

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U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Policy Joseph Yun arrives at a meeting with the media in Bangkok, Thailand, on December 15, 2017.

In Tokyo, Yun said the USA was still a distance away from using a military option against the Kim regime and, instead, would pursue diplomatic means of de-escalating the situation. "Joe Yun is the only senior official left at State who has experience dealing with the complexities of North Korea policy".

Washington's disarmament ambassador on Tuesday repeated his insistence that the United States would never accept North Korea as a nuclear-armed state. On Monday, Trump responded to the North's reported overture by saying talks will happen only "under the right conditions".

Another hostile step by the North, such as conducting another intercontinental ballistic missile test, would increase the chances of a U.S. military response. But the US has pressed on with ever tougher sanctions, including a new set on the North's shipping capabilities. Trump has warned Pyongyang of "phase two" if sanctions do not work.

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