Top US diplomat for North Korea to retire: report

Top US diplomat for North Korea to retire: report
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The State Department’s top diplomat for North Korean policy is retiring this week, CNN reported Monday.

Joseph Yun told the network that he will retire at the end of the week, adding that it was “completely my decision to retire at this time.”

Yun has served as the U.S. special representative for North Korea policy since October 2016.

Yun will leave his role amid heightened tensions between the U.S. and North Korea, despite the recent floating of new diplomatic talks.

U.S. officials have said they are open to talks with North Korea, but have vowed to maintain pressure on leader Kim Jong Un to end the country’s nuclear program.

Last month, President TrumpDonald John TrumpKoch-backed group launches six-figure ad buy against Heitkamp Anti-abortion Dem wins primary fight Lipinski holds slim lead in tough Illinois primary fight MORE's pick to be ambassador to South Korea withdrew from consideration for the office over disagreements with the White House's policies.

Yun's departure is the latest in a string of exits at the State Department, where 60 percent of top-ranking career diplomats have reportedly left and the number of people looking to join the foreign service has decreased.

More than a year after Trump took office, the agency still has roughly 40 embassies without confirmed ambassadors.

Secretary of State Rex TillersonRex Wayne TillersonTrump formally sends Pompeo nomination to Senate Trump uses Nowruz to hit Iranian government Trump informally offered Cohn CIA job before changing his mind: report MORE, however, denied last week that the number of vacancies reflect a dismantling of the agency, saying it’s the “nature of the process” to fill the open spots.