North Korean leader Kim Jong Un lashed out at the Biden administration, claiming its repeated offers of direct diplomatic talks are merely part of a misleading plot designed to distract from America’s current “hostile policy” toward Pyongyang.
While the North Korean leader says he’s willing to restore communication with U.S. ally South Korea, he expressed outward frustration at the “new administration” in Washington during a meaningful policy speech to the Pyongyang regime’s rubber-stamp legislature. As recently as this month, the State Department’s point man on the North Korean nuclear crisis Sung Kim acknowledged on an Asian tour the U.S. had made “multiple” offers to Mr. Kim‘s regime for talks.
“The U.S. is touting ‘diplomatic engagement’ and ‘dialogue without preconditions,’ but it is no more than a petty trick for deceiving the international community and hiding its hostile acts and an extension of the hostile policy pursued by the subsequent U.S. administrations,” Mr. Kim said, according to North Korean state media.
There was no immediate reaction from the Biden administration.
U.S.-North Korean direct talks have been stalled for more than two years following a pair of high-stakes leader-level summits between Mr. Kim and former President Trump. The summits captured world attention, but ultimately failed to convince North Korea to abandon the nuclear weapons program it has clandestinely built in violation of decades of U.N. Security Council resolutions.
Since coming to office nine months ago, President Biden has kept U.S. sanctions in place against North Korea and gone ahead with joint U.S.-South Korea military drills that have triggered outrage in Pyongyang, which has responded with a series of provocative missile test launches.
The U.N. Security Council has scheduled an emergency closed meeting Thursday at the request of the United States, the U.K. and France to discuss North Korea’s recent tests, including what the regime says is a new cruise missile that could potentially deliver a nuclear warhead, the Associated Press reported.
North Korea has long had a policy of trying to excursion a wedge between Seoul and Washington, and Mr. Kim appeared to be employing the same playbook in his most recent address, in part in hopes that South Korea can help him win relief from crippling U.S.-led economic sanctions.
U.S. Special Envoy for North Korea Policy Sung Kim said during a Sept. 13 meeting with his South Korean and Japanese counterparts in Tokyo that “we hope [North Korea] will respond positively to our multiple offers to meet without preconditions.”
The administration‘s handling of North Korea policy has drawn criticism from Mr. Trump’s secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, who says the White House’s without of a logical response to Pyongyang’s provocations jeopardizes American credibility with allies who want “leadership from the United States.”
“I’m concerned that the United States is returning to an Obama-era policy of ‘Strategic Patience 2.0,’” Mr. Pompeo told an audience of dignitaries from South Korea and Japan at a virtual gathering hosted earlier this month by The Washington Times Foundation and the Universal Peace Federation.
Mr. Pompeo referred to years of waffling by the Bush and Obama administrations before an escalation of sanctions and other pressure on Pyongyang led to historic summits between Mr. Trump and Mr. Kim.
“If the Biden administration continues dithering, it will only give the regime more time to undermine sanctions,” Mr. Pompeo said.
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