U.S. says it will seek “practical” N. Korea policy following review
Written by tokyoclub on April 30, 2021
The administration of U.S. President Joe Biden will take a “practical” approach toward ridding Pyongyang of its nuclear weapons and will not focus on striking a “grand bargain,” the White House said Friday upon completion of a policy review on North Korea.
Noting that the U.S. goal remains “the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” Press Secretary Jen Psaki said, “Our policy calls for a calibrated, practical approach.”
U.S. President Joe Biden addresses a joint session of Congress in the House chamber of the U.S. Capitol on April 28, 2021 in Washington (Getty/Kyodo)
“Our policy will not focus on achieving a grand bargain nor will it rely on strategic patience,” she told reporters aboard Air Force One en route to Philadelphia, apparently referring to the approaches of past U.S. administrations with regard to North Korea.
Biden’s predecessor Donald Trump, who in 2018 became the first sitting U.S. leader to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, had pushed for a “big deal” under which all sanctions would be lifted if North Korea gave up all of its nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction.
But North Korea had called for an incremental, action-for-action process in which Pyongyang would secure concessions such as sanctions relief for each move it made toward denuclearization.
A second U.S.-North Korea summit, which took place in 2019 in Hanoi, broke down when Kim insisted that a significant portion of the U.N. sanctions against Pyongyang be lifted in return for a partial dismantlement of the country’s nuclear program.
U.S. President Donald Trump (R) and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un hold talks in Hanoi on Feb. 28, 2019. (VNA/Kyodo)
Under the administration of former President Barack Obama, in which Biden served as vice president for eight years through January 2017, Washington adopted a “strategic patience” policy, designed to put more pressure on the reclusive country while waiting for it to return to denuclearization talks.
But critics have termed it a failure as North Korea’s nuclear and missile capabilities have continuously advanced.
Psaki said the Biden administration will seek to make “practical progress that increases the security” of the United States and its allies.
“We have and will continue to consult with the Republic of Korea, Japan and other allies and partners in every step along the way,” she added.