US President Joe Biden has nominated a special envoy for human rights in North Korea. The post has been vacant for nearly six years.
The White House said in a statement on Monday that Julie Turner has been nominated special envoy on North Korean human rights issues, with the rank of ambassador.
Turner is the director of the US State Department's Office of East Asia and the Pacific in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor.
Previously, Robert King served in the post for more than seven years until January 2017. As envoy, he conducted talks on providing food aid to North Korea. He also met families of Japanese citizens abducted by the North and supported efforts toward solving the abductee issue.
With human rights issues among his top priorities, Biden announced his intention to appoint an envoy soon after taking office in 2021. But the move was delayed, apparently because it was difficult to find a candidate at a time when prospects of resuming dialogue with Pyongyang remain uncertain.
South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol named his ambassador on North Korean human rights last year. That post had also been vacant.
Turner will officially become the envoy after Senate approval.