WASHINGTON, (ANTARA News) - U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo named Ford Motor Co executive Stephen Biegun as the U.S. special representative to North Korea on Thursday and said they would both travel next week to the country to try to persuade it to abandon its nuclear weapons.

"Steve will direct U.S. policy towards North Korea and lead our efforts to achieve President Trump`s goal of the final, fully verified denuclearization of North Korea as agreed to by Kim Jong Un," Pompeo told reporters at the State Department, referring to the North Korean leader.

"He and I will be traveling to North Korea next week to make further diplomatic progress towards our objective," Pompeo said.

It will be Pompeo`s fourth trip this year aimed at persuading North Korea to abandon a nuclear weapons program that threatens the United States and his second since an unprecedented June summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and Kim that produced much fanfare but little obvious progress.

Commenting on the North Korea situation, Biegun said the "issues are tough, and will be tough to resolve" but added that Trump had created an opening and the opportunity had to be
seized to ensure a peaceful future for the North Korean people.

According to Reuters, Biegun served as vice president of international governmental affairs for Ford Motor Co. for 14 years. The company announced his retirement earlier on Thursday.

Before joining Ford, Biegun served as national security advisor to then Republican Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist.

Prior to that, he worked in former President George W. Bushs White House from 2001-2003 as executive secretary of the National Security Council. He served as a senior staff member to Bushs national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice.

His name was floated earlier this year among a list of contenders to replace Trumps then-national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, who was ultimately succeeded by John Bolton.

Editing by: Tia Mutiasari / Boyke S.

Reporter: Antara
Editor: Chaidar Abdullah
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