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Biden doesn’t intend to meet with NK leader: White House

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki speaks during the daily press briefing at the White House in Washington, DC, on Monday. (AFP-Yonhap)
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki speaks during the daily press briefing at the White House in Washington, DC, on Monday. (AFP-Yonhap)
The White House said it is not the intention of US President Joe Biden to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un as part of the diplomacy that Biden has said he was prepared for.

In response to the question, “Now that the president said he’s ‘prepared for some form of diplomacy,’ does this include sitting with President Kim Jong-un?” at the White House daily press briefing Monday, press secretary Jen Psaki said, “I think his approach would be quite different, and that is not his intention.”

Psaki reconfirmed the Biden administration’s position on North Korea that, unlike former US President Donald Trump who met with Kim three times, it will not go for summits without reaching a concrete agreement toward denuclearization in advance.

Biden said in his first press conference as US president on Thursday that he is “prepared for some form of diplomacy,” but made it clear that “it has to be conditioned upon the end result of denuclearization.”

Regarding the North’s recent ballistic missile tests, Biden also said Thursday that the US would respond accordingly if the North escalates tensions.

During the presidential campaign last year, Biden criticized Trump for “legitimizing” North Korea by meeting him without significant preconditions.

In a presidential debate in October during the campaign, Biden said he would meet with Kim only if Pyongyang agreed to draw down its nuclear capacity as a precondition.

Biden has also repeatedly said that his diplomacy with North Korea would take a bottom-up approach that emphasizes working-level negotiations between diplomats, in contrast to Trump’s top-down approach based on one-on-one exchanges with Kim.

The Biden administration, which took office in January, is in its final stage of a comprehensive review of its North Korea policy.

“We are in the final stage of our intensive, multistakeholder North Korea policy review,” Psaki said during a White House press briefing Friday.

“And we’re, of course, discussing our review with national security advisers of South Korea and Japan and our trilateral dialogue coming up next week, and those consultations are an important part of our review process.”

US national security adviser Jake Sullivan is scheduled to host his South Korean and Japanese counterparts in Washington to discuss the outcome of the North Korea policy review later this week.

South Korean press generally reported Tuesday that Biden “has no intention to meet with Kim.”

By Kim So-hyun (sophie@heraldcorp.com)
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