Biden Team Reached Out to North Korea But Got No Response

President Joe Biden’s administration has reached out to North Korea’s government in order to revive diplomatic efforts around the country’s nuclear program but hasn’t received a response.

“I can confirm that we have reached out,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Monday in a briefing. “Diplomacy is always our goal. Our goal is to reduce the risk of escalation. But to date we have not received any response.”

Former President Donald Trump held three meetings with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to try to reach a deal to eliminate the country’s nuclear arsenal, without success. Trump became the first sitting U.S. president to step inside Kim’s nation when he crossed the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea during a meeting in June 2019, but relations deteriorated afterward.

It wasn’t clear how Biden’s team reached out to North Korea, which often doesn’t respond to diplomatic entreaties for months at a time. The U.S. in the past has used a communications channel at the United Nations to discuss hostage issues, while Sweden has also served as a go-between for talks since it has an embassy in Pyongyang.

Psaki said Biden’s team is “also focused on consulting with many former government officials who have been involved in North Korea policy, including from several prior administrations.”

North Korea could be one focus of talks scheduled late this week between Chinese and U.S. diplomats, including Secretary of State Antony Blinken, in Alaska. China has long had the closest relationship with North Korea, with the two countries sharing a border and trade ties.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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