Christopher Hill, the chief U.S. nuclear envoy for the last three years, has declined the new Obama administration’s offer for him to serve as the newly-minted position as a special envoy to North Korea, Yonhap News reported Friday citing Radio Free Asia.
“Hill was recently approached with the offer to serve as a ranking envoy to North Korea. But my understanding is that he declined it,” a well-placed diplomatic source said.
RFA said it had sent an email to Hill for confirmation, but has yet to receive his reply as of Friday.
As for the reasons for Hill’s lukewarm attitude for the offer, another diplomatic source said it is because the post is lower in ranking than what Hill holds now. “Hill currently holds Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs and chief U.S. unclear envoy. He doesn’t have a reason to seek a lower position.”
The same source also said that former State Department counselor Wendy Sherman, who is now likely to be appointed for the new post, actually doesn’t want it either. Another candidate for the post is Mitchell Reiss, Vice-Provost of International Affairs at The College of William and Mary.
As for what Hill will be doing in the new Obama administration, diplomatic sources now predict that he will likely keep his current post for a while before being promoted to a higher post within the State Department.