Despite repeated attempts to reach out, President Joe Biden's administration remains ignored by North Korea. Reportedly, the reclusive country has yet to respond to behind-the-scenes diplomatic outreach. Since February, the US continues to reach out to the country. This includes trying to open communication lines with Pyongyang’s UN mission. A senior Biden administration official relayed this information to Reuters last Saturday.
The disclosure of the failed attempts raises questions on how to deal with NK. Specifically, how can the White House reduce tensions with North Korea? This includes opening a dialogue with its enigmatic leader, Kim Jong-Un. At present, the country remains openly defiant with its nuclear missile development efforts.
Also, the diplomatic silence reduces the clout of top American officials. A US delegation will visit South Korea and Japan next week to discuss security. The countries share the same apprehension over the rogue country’s nuclear weaponry. Dealing with North Korea is high on the agenda list of urgent matters.
The senior Biden administration official spoke with Reuters on condition of anonymity. He said they made efforts to reach out to North Korea through several channels. This includes going the UN route in New York. “To date, we have not received any response from Pyongyang,” the official said.
Meanwhile, the official said a comprehensive policy review on NK is underway. This includes an “evaluation of all available options” to address the increasing threat from North Korea. During this review process, the administration consulted with former government officials with experience in North Korean policy. Specifically, they included officials from the Trump administration. The government also met with Japanese and South Korean allies. “We look forward to completing our intensive, multi-stakeholder policy review in the coming weeks,” the anonymous official said.
A Contrast To Trump Efforts
In contrast, former President Donald Trump met with North Korea from the get-go. Even as he advocated a tough stance, Trump said he is open to “eat a hamburger” with the NK leader to get a dialogue started. Consequently, Trump and Kim met two times, one in 2018 and one in 2019. and signed an accord that reduced tensions between the two countries. North Korea even returned the remains of missing American soldiers during the war.
However, the Biden administration has yet its reactivate dialogue with North Korea. Last year during the campaign, Biden called Kim a “thug” and said he would only meet him on certain conditions. This includes North Korea’s immediate withdrawal of its nuclear program.
Denuclearizing North Korea
Meanwhile, Secretary of State Antony Blinken mentioned possible additional sanctions for North Korea. For now, the US is working closely with allies to convince Pyongyang to denuclearize. However, sanctions have yet to work to make Kim give up his nuclear arsenal.
This week, Blinken will host discussions with US and Chinese officials in Alaska. Pyongyang’s missile program will be prominently featured on the agenda. A confidential UN report disclosed NK's 2020 activities. It said the country maintained and developed its nuclear and ballistic missile programs. This is in violation of international sanctions. Also, Pyongyang used $300 million in funds generated from cyber hacks. In addition, the report said Pyongyang produced fissile material, maintained nuclear facilities, and upgraded its ballistic missile infrastructure. Meanwhile, they also foreign materials and technology for those programs abroad.
Watch the Arirang News featuring North Korea’s unresponsiveness to the Biden administration's outreach:
Should the Biden administration change its strategy to connect with NK? Or, has Biden’s initial clumsy attempts already made it impossible to establish relationships? Let us know what you think about dealing with North Korea. Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
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