Biden opts for diplomacy after a month-long review that considered the lack of progress at the Pyongyang convention to give up nuclear weapons.
U.S. President Joe Biden will explore diplomacy, but will not seek any “big negotiations” with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un as he takes a new approach to pressuring Pyongyang to give up its nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles. , the White House said Friday.
“Our goal remains the complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula,” Biden press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters.
U.S. policy will see “a practical, calibrated approach that is open and will explore diplomacy” with North Korea, he said.
The new approach follows a review of North Korea’s policy by the incoming Biden administration after three prominent meetings between Kim and former U.S. President Donald Trump, which made no progress in convincing Pyongyang to he gave up his weapons.
Barack Obama’s policy, which rejected a serious diplomatic commitment to North Korea in the absence of Pyongyang measures to reduce tensions, also had little impact.
“Our policy will not focus on getting big business, nor will it be based on strategic patience,” Psaki said.
So far, North Korea has done so he rejected diplomatic pleas of the Biden administration. Pyongyang wants the United States and its allies to lift the economic sanctions imposed by its weapons programs.
Psaki did not provide details on what could be the administration’s next step beyond discussions with the Allies. Biden met two weeks ago with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and will meet with South Korean President Moon Jae-in on May 21 at the White House.
The United States had consulted with South Korea throughout the policy review process and Washington had informed Seoul of its findings in advance, South Korea’s foreign ministry said.
“The two countries will discuss the direction of North Korean policy at the summit and meeting of foreign ministers scheduled for May and will continue cooperation so that talks between North Korea and the US can resume soon.”
Last month, Moon urged Biden to engage directly with Kim in denuclearization, saying he was in favor of “top-down diplomacy.”
Jenny Town, director of 38 North, a Washington-based North Korean control program, said the big features of Biden’s policy so far sound good.
“But the details will be important to assess the success of the administration with this ‘new approach.’ I’m not sure there’s much to say until we see more,” he said.
There are constant concerns that North Korea may re-test nuclear devices. North Korea launched two alleged ballistic missiles into the sea near Japan in March.
The White House did not say whether it would offer concessions to convince North Korea to return to talks.
The Biden administration has simultaneously pointed to a hard line on human rights, denuclearization and sanctions, while making diplomatic openings that officials say have been rejected by Pyongyang, which has long demanded a easing of sanctions.