Senate to hold confirmation hearing for Biegun this week

WASHINGTON-- The U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee will hold a confirmation hearing later this week for Stephen Biegun, Washington's top nuclear envoy and nominee for deputy secretary of state, it posted on its website Monday.

The committee said the hearing will be held Wednesday.

As U.S. special representative for North Korea, Biegun has led working-level negotiations with Pyongyang over its nuclear weapons program.

Last month, U.S. President Donald Trump nominated him to replace John Sullivan as the No. 2 State Department official.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo welcomed the announcement in a tweet, saying Biegun will continue to be an "effective leader on DPRK efforts" -- an indication he would remain Washington's chief negotiator.

DPRK stands for the North's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

The hearing will likely center on Biegun's assessment of the negotiations and the Trump administration's approach to North Korea.

The U.S. and North Korea last held working-level talks in Stockholm, Sweden, in October but failed to produce a breakthrough.

The two sides have been apart on how much the North should dismantle its nuclear weapons program in order to receive sanctions relief and other concessions from the U.S.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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