WH Confirms Having Reached Out To N.Korea

Washington: The White House confirmed that the administration of President Joe Biden had recently reached out to North Korea but has not yet received a response from Pyongyang.

“I can confirm that we have reached out,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said at Monday’s news briefing when asked by reporters about the matter.

She added that the US maintains a series of channels through which it is able to communicate with North Korea, Xinhua news agency reported.

Psaki said the US has “not received any response” to date, stressing repeatedly that Washington’s priority has been, and remains, “to reduce the risk of escalation” through diplomacy.

She did not elaborate on what kind of escalation the US is concerned about.

“Diplomacy continues to remain our first priority. I think you can all anticipate that there will be a continued expansion of engagement with partners and allies in the region, and this will of course be a topic of discussion,” the Press Secretary added.

Later in the day, a State Department’s principal deputy spokesperson, Jalina Porter said the North Korea policy review will evaluate all available options.

“The administration is conducting a thorough inter-agency review of US policy toward North Korea, and that includes evaluating all options to address the increased threats that are posed by North Korea to its neighbours, as well as the broader international community,” Porter said in a telephonic press briefing.

The Department had earlier said the review will likely be completed within “weeks”.

Also on Monday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin arrived in Tokyo, kicking off a two-leg tour to Northeast Asia that will later bring them to Seoul.

Sung Kim, Acting Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, told reporters last week that Blinken would discuss the North Korean nuclear issue with his Japanese and South Korean counterparts during the trip.

Kim said that the US’ commitment to seeking a complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula has not changed.

The North has stayed away from denuclearization talks since leader Kim Jong-un’s second bilateral summit with former US President Donald Trump in Hanoi ended without a deal in February 2019.

The last US-North Korea dialogue was held in late 2019.