North Korea “does not respond to Biden administration outreach” | North Korea News

A senior official said the Reuters Biden administration attempted to reach North Korea “ through multiple channels ”.

North Korea has not responded to behind-the-scenes diplomatic outreach since mid-February from President Joe Biden’s administration, including at the Pyongyang mission to the United Nations, a senior official told Reuters on Saturday. ‘Biden administration.

The disclosure of the so far unsuccessful US outreach, which has not been reported previously, raises questions about how Biden will resolve growing tensions with Pyongyang over its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs.

It also adds a new dimension to the visit that the top US diplomat and defense secretary will make next week to South Korea and Japan, where concerns about North Korea’s nuclear arsenal are expected to feature. prominently on the agenda.

Senior administration official Biden, speaking on condition of anonymity, gave few details of the diplomatic push.

But the official said efforts had been made to reach the North Korean government “through several channels from mid-February, including New York.”

“To date, we have not received any response from Pyongyang,” the official said.

North Korea’s mission to the United Nations did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Biden administration has so far been cautious in publicly describing its approach to North Korea, saying it is conducting a full political review following former President Donald Trump’s unprecedented engagement with the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Trump’s efforts have failed to persuade North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons.

Administration official Biden said it appeared there had been no active dialogue between the United States and North Korea for over a year, including at the end of the Trump administration, “despite multiple attempts during this period by the United States to engage.”

The US official declined to speculate on the impact of Pyongyang’s silence on the Biden administration’s North Korean policy review, which is expected to be completed in the coming weeks.

During his election campaign, Biden described Kim as a “thug” and said he would only meet him “on condition that he accepts that he reduces his nuclear capacity”.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has raised the possibility of additional sanctions, in coordination with the allies, to push North Korea to denuclearize.

Sanctions have so far failed to convince Kim to give up his nuclear weapons.

Blinken is expected to host the first face-to-face talks between the Biden administration and Chinese officials on March 18 in Alaska. The Trump administration has accused China of failing to enforce sanctions against North Korea.

A confidential UN report revealed that North Korea had maintained and expanded its nuclear and ballistic missile programs throughout 2020 in violation of international sanctions, helping to fund them with some $ 300 million stolen by cyber-attackers. -hacks.

The Independent Sanctions Observer Report said Pyongyang was “producing fissile material, maintaining nuclear facilities and modernizing its ballistic missile infrastructure” while continuing to search for equipment and technology for these programs abroad.

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