U.S. six-party talks envoy steps down

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U.S. six-party talks envoy steps down

Sydney Seiler, the U.S. special envoy for the long-stalled six-party talks, is expected to step down from his position at the U.S. State Department, diplomatic sources said on Monday.

Seiler was unable to make progress toward reviving the discussions, which also include the two Koreas, China, Russia and Japan. The talks were originally formed with the aim of convincing Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear ambitions and resolving security concerns on the peninsula, but have been halted since late 2008 when North Korea walked away from denuclearization negotiations.

Seiler took the post a year ago, on loan from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI), where he is expected to return. He would have represented the United States should six-party talks have convened under Sung Kim, the special representative for North Korea policy at the State Department.

The veteran Central Intelligence Agency analyst previously served as the director for Korea on the White House National Security Council from May 2011 to August 2014 under the Barack Obama administration. Before that, he served as deputy DNI national intelligence manager for North Korea. Seiler has served over 12 years in South Korea.

It has not yet been confirmed who will replace him as special envoy for the six-party talks, though it is possible the position may be left vacant for the time being. The post was previously left vacant for more than a year after Seiler’s predecessor, Clifford Hart, was appointed as the consul general of Hong Kong and Macao in June 2013.

Seiler last visited Seoul in July, after a landmark nuclear deal was reached between Iran and six world powers led by the United States.

BY SARAH KIM [kim.sarah@joongang.co.kr]
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