Former United States Special Representative for North Korea Policy / Senior Advisor of the US Institute of Peace / Senior advisor of The Asia Group
Ambassador Joseph Yun, Senior Advisor at The Asia Group and US Institute of Peace, is recognized as one of America’s leading experts on North Korea. As the US Special Representative for North Korea Policy from 2016 to 2018 he led the State Department’s efforts to align regional powers behind a united policy to denuclearize North Korea. He was instrumental in reopening direct communication lines with officials from Pyongyang, and in securing the release of an American student imprisoned for 15 months.
Ambassador Yun’s 33-year diplomatic career has been committed to face-to-face engagement for resolving conflict and advancing international cooperation. From 2013 to 2016 he served as US Ambassador to Malaysia, overseeing the negotiation of the US-Malaysian Comprehensive Partnership Agreement that was signed by President Obama and Prime Minister Najib during the first trip to Malaysia by a US President in nearly 50 years. Previously, as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, he led US efforts to normalize relations with Myanmar, becoming the first US-based government official to meet with Burmese democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi following her release from house arrest. He also worked to lay the foundation for official participation by the President of the United States in the annual East Asian Summit, starting from 2011.
Previous assignments include South Korea, Thailand, France, Indonesia, and Hong Kong. He currently writes and speaks on US-North Korea policy and Asian affairs and is a Global Affairs Analyst for CNN.