A senior Biden Administration official has told Reuters that North Korea has not responded to the administration’s attempts to contact Pyongyang, “despite multiple attempts during that time by the United States to engage.”. The relationship between the two countries remains tense and dysfunctional; Biden has called North Korean leader Kim Jong-un a ‘thug’, and Secretary of State Anthony Blinken has not ruled out levying additional sanctions on North Korea to try and force it to denuclearize.
The senior official confirmed that no dialogue had taken place between Pyongyang and Washington for more than a year, meaning that the two countries did not talk during both the end of the Trump administration and the start of the Biden administration. The official said that “To date, we have not received any response from Pyongyang.” North Korea, also known as The Hermit kingdom due to its reclusiveness, is now isolated from the outside world more than ever before, as its borders have been closed for over a year to stop the spread of Covid-19.
Former President Donald Trump held historic talks with Mr. Kim, which many hoped would herald the start of better relations between the US and the rogue communist state. However, Trump ultimately failed to persuade Kim to give up nuclear weapons, and the US has refused to lift sanctions in exchange for only a partial reduction in North Korea’s nuclear capabilities. US-North Korea relations have since returned to being hostile.
Mr Kim has spoken openly about his country’s nuclear capabilities, and he claims North Korea is developing more accurate long-range missiles, super large warheads, a nuclear-powered submarine, and spy satellites. North Korea’s nuclear ambitions are expected to be one of the most important topics to be discussed when Secretary of State Blinken and Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin visit Japan and South Korea this week.
Joe Biden is expected to announce his North Korea policy review in April, though the US official refused to speculate how Pyongyang’s silence would impact it. Biden is expected to take a tough stance when it comes to North Korea, as he said during his 2020 election campaign that he would only meet with Mr. Kim “on the condition that he would agree that he would be drawing down his nuclear capacity.” However, it should be noted that sanctions have so far been unable to make Kim Jong-un give up his country’s nuclear capabilities, meaning Biden is likely to face difficulties if he wishes to do so.