The senior US diplomat for Asia is planning to retire, as the US prepares for negotiations on North Korea’s complete denuclearization.
State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said that Acting Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Susan Thornton had expressed her intention to step down at the end of July.
Reasons for her departure were not given.
Thornton was picked for the post of assistant secretary last year. But her confirmation at the Senate has been blocked, leading to speculation that her nomination might be withdrawn.
The State Department says it is working to pick her replacement.
Thornton’s departure comes as the US government prepares for the denuclearization talks, following the US-North Korea summit in June.
The US is also at odds with China over trade, as well as the issue of the South China Sea.
A spate of departing State Department officials, including the special representative for North Korea policy, has raised concerns about the impact on the US government’s handlings of East Asian affairs.