>> Joseph Yun, a man few people may know outside of Washington, might be the Trump Administration's best diplomatic hope for reducing the risk of a devastating war on the Korean Peninsula. As the chief U.S. negotiator to North Korea, Yun is saddled with a tough job, trying to negotiate peace with Kim Jong-Un, an enemy who shows no interest in listening, and President Donald Trump, who has said the time for talks has passed, even as he heads to the region this week.
Reuter's state department reporter, Arshad Mohammed.>> Compounding Yun's task are the mixed signals out of Washington. About a month ago, we saw Secretary of State, Tillerson, say publicly that the United States was probing for a diplomatic opening with North Korea. A day later, President Trump slapped him down with a tweet telling him that that was a waste of time.
If you're an American negotiator, you don't wanna go out into the field with people being uncertain whether you have the backing of your boss and your boss's boss. So, Yun has an enormously difficult practical challenge to get the North Koreans to restrict, or perhaps, eliminate their nuclear and missile programs.
And he has a sort of tactical challenge, where it's not clear if his own government and his Commander in Chief is 100% behind it.>> President Donald Trump has personalized the Korea conflict, deriding Kim as little rocket man, and has repeatedly threaten military action against Pyongyang. But behind the scenes, Yun is trying to keep open a fragile line of communication to prevent the dispute from spiraling into military conflict.
The one tangible achievement of Yun's diplomatic career in the past year was winning the release of 22 year old, Otto Warmbier, in secret talks with North Korean officials, and bringing him back to the US in a coma where he died shortly after.