WASHINGTON — The Biden administration’s number two diplomat is retiring after decades of service in the US government.

Assistant Secretary of State Wendy Sherman will leave office this summer, having been involved in some of the most important and controversial foreign policy decisions during Democratic administrations since Bill Clinton was president.

Sherman, 73, said in an internal memo to State Department staff that his retirement would be effective at the end of June.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken praised Sherman’s career, saying that President Joe Biden chose her for the number two job in the State Department because he believed she could revitalize US relations around the world.

“President Biden asked Wendy to serve in this role because he knew he could count on her to help revitalize America’s alliances and partnerships and manage our complex relationships with competitors,” Blinken said in a statement.

Sherman has been a key part of the Biden administration’s efforts to compete with China in the Indo-Pacific and was particularly active in engaging with the Pacific island states and also met with senior Chinese officials on numerous occasions.

He also had an important role in gaining international diplomatic support for Ukraine after the invasion by Russia.

As an adviser to former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, Sherman was one of the main negotiators in the Clinton administration’s ultimately failed talks to end North Korea’s ballistic missile program in the late 1990s.

Then, as Assistant Secretary of State for Political Affairs during the Obama administration, she was the lead negotiator with Iran in the 2015 nuclear deal.

“His remarkable career, spanning more than three decades, three presidents and five secretaries of state, has tackled some of the most difficult foreign policy challenges of our time,” Blinken said. «Our nation is safer and our alliances stronger because of his leadership.»