North Korea envoy Stephen Biegun sworn in as Pompeo’s No. 2 at State Dept.

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Stephen Biegun was officially sworn in as deputy secretary of State on Saturday, becoming Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoThe Hill’s 12:30 Report — Presented by UANI — Sparks fly at last Democratic debate of the year The Hill’s Morning Report — Impeachment face-off; Dems go after Buttigieg in debate Overnight Defense: Senate sends .4T spending bill to Trump | Lawmakers fail to reach deal on impeachment trial before holidays | Pompeo hits Iran with new sanctions MORE‘s No. 2 as the Trump administration faces challenges on a litany of foreign policy fronts.

“It’s official: Stephen Biegun is the new Deputy Secretary of @StateDept. Honored to swear him in today. As I’ve said before, he’s exactly what we need to maintain our momentum executing a foreign policy that advances America’s interests and ensures our security,” Pompeo tweeted.

Biegun, who previously served as the State Department’s envoy to North Korea, was confirmed to his new role by the Senate in a 90-3 vote on Thursday. He replaces John Sullivan, who now serves as U.S. ambassador to Russia.

Biegun has served in various posts in the executive and legislative branches throughout his career. He worked as a senior aide to then-national security adviser Condoleezza Rice under the George W. Bush administration and performed various national security advisory and staff roles on House and Senate committees.

He has been the Trump administration’s chief negotiator trying to broker an agreement with Pyongyang to curb its nuclear and missile programs. While the effort has been touted by President TrumpDonald John TrumpMaxine Waters warns if Senate doesn’t remove Trump, he’ll ‘invite Putin to the White House’ Trump signs .4 T spending package, averting shutdown Twenty-five Jewish lawmakers ask Trump to fire Stephen Miller over ‘white nationalist’ comments MORE, negotiations between the two sides have stalled in recent months, with officials reportedly fearing a possible end-of-year missile test could further derail progress.

Biegun also takes over the State Department’s No. 2 role as the administration works to negotiate a trade deal with China, officially implement a new trade deal with Mexico and Canada, defend the president over his dealings with Ukraine, and more.

In his new position, Biegun would also take over leadership of the department in an acting capacity should Pompeo decide to step down from his post to run for Senate next year in his home state of Kansas, a possibility Pompeo has been mulling.

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