According to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, North Korea must determine if it wants to engage diplomatically in order to achieve the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
The failure of a third summit between President Joe Biden’s predecessor, Donald Trump, and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has put a halt to talks aimed at convincing Pyongyang to give up its nuclear weapons program.
“I hope that North Korea will take the opportunity to engage diplomatically, and to see if there are ways to move forward toward the objective of the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula,” Blinken said at a news conference in London on Monday.
“And so we’ll look to see not only what North Korea says but what it actually does,” Blinken said.
“It is, I think, up to North Korea to decide whether it wants to engage or not on that basis.”
North Korea had previously lashed out at the US in a series of tweets, claiming that recent remarks from Washington were evidence of a hostile policy that demanded a corresponding response.
Following a thorough analysis, the Biden administration unveiled its new North Korea strategy on Friday.
China’s UN Ambassador, Zhang Jun, expressed hope that the review would put a greater focus on dialogue rather than pressure. Pyongyang’s neighbor and ally is China.
“Based on what we have seen in the past years we do believe that diplomatic efforts represent the right direction,” Zhang told reporters in New York on Monday. “And we also hope that both parties will … refrain from taking provocative and confrontational actions and make more efforts by resuming dialogue.”
‘No grand bargain’
The United States’ target of complete denuclearization of North Korea remains unchanged under the new strategy, with the administration stating that it will engage in negotiations but will not pursue a “grand deal” with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
Biden’s strategy seeks to strike a balance between Trump’s efforts and those of former President Barack Obama, who declined substantive diplomatic engagement unless Pyongyang took measures to de-escalate tensions.
North Korea wants the United States and its allies to lift economic sanctions levied in response to its nuclear program, but has so far rejected diplomatic efforts from the Biden administration.
The White House has not stated whether it would make concessions in order to entice North Korea to resume talks.
Blinken is in the UK capital for the first Group of Seven meeting in person in two years.
Blinken discussed Biden’s new strategy with his colleagues in Japan and South Korea.
The US’s top diplomat admitted that successive governments, including those from the Democratic Party, have struggled to halt North Korea’s nuclear program, which has conducted six atomic bomb tests since 2006.
“What we have now is a policy that calls for a calibrated, practical approach that is open to and will explore diplomacy with North Korea to try to make practical progress,” Blinken said.
The three-day talks in London will lay the groundwork for a leaders’ summit next month in southwest England, on Biden’s first international trip as US president.