U.S. announces Biden’s North Korea policy . . .
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki announced on Friday that the U.S. has completed its policy review of North Korea. It is now official: The Biden Administration’s goal for its North Korea policy remains denuclearization. Psaki added that, unlike previous administrations, President Biden’s approach will not centre on achieving a “grand bargain,” as was former President Trump’s approach, or strategic patience, the approach of the Obama Administration. Instead, the new U.S. North Korea policy will focus on “a calibrated, practical approach that is open to and will explore diplomacy.” Further details on the policy are expected soon.
North Korea reacts . . .
Two days after the announcement, Kwon Jong Gun, head of North Korea’s Department of U.S. Affairs in the Foreign Ministry, characterized the U.S. policy as “hostile.” In a statement, Kwon also said that North Korea “will be compelled to press for corresponding measures, and with time the U.S. will find itself in a very grave situation.” Jake Sullivan, President Biden’s National Security Advisor, stressed on Sunday in an interview that the U.S. North Korea policy “is not aimed at hostility, it’s aimed at solutions.” Yesterday, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said at a press conference that it is ultimately “up to North Korea to decide whether it wants to engage or not.”
Implications for the U.S.-North Korea relationship . . .
While the Biden Administration has tried to distinguish its new North Korea policy from previous administrations, the continued focus on denuclearization has North Korean officials claiming that it is merely a continuation of the same policy enforced by the U.S. for nearly half a century. However, some analysts believe that despite North Korea’s disapproval of the policy, the door to further diplomatic relations between the two countries is not necessarily shut. In a report released on Monday, 38 North, a U.S.-based website devoted to informed analysis of North Korea, stated that “there are signs that Washington and Pyongyang are in the early, cautious stages of a diplomatic dance.” This will certainly be something to keep a close eye on in the coming months.