US trying to reactivate diplomacy with North Korea

Washington, Mar 15 (efe-epa).- The White House on Monday confirmed that it has tried to contact North Korea but has not yet received a response, and it made clear that it is certain it will be able to resume diplomacy with the Asian nation after more than a year with no communication between Washington and Pyongyang.

“We have reached out,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters on Monday at her daily press briefing, adding that a number of channels exist via which Washington can make contact with Pyongyang but saying that so far the North Koreans have not replied.

“Diplomacy is always our goal,” she said.

Psaki thus corroborated a report published on Saturday by CNN saying that the Joe Biden administration had tried since mid-February to make contact with North Korea via different channels, including Pyongyang’s mission to the United Nations, but as yet has received no response.

“This follows over a year without active dialogue with North Korea despite multiple attempts by the US to engage … You can all anticipate that there will be a continued expansion of engagement with partners and allies in the region,” Psaki went on to say, noting that US regional allies include Japan and South Korea and efforts will be made to unblock communication with Pyongyang.

The US secretaries of state and defense, Antony Blinken and Austin Lloyd, respectively, on Tuesday will begin their first diplomatic tour with visits to Tokyo and Seoul, where it is expected that North Korea will be one of the main topics of discussion.

In 2018, North Korea and the US launched negotiations that led to three summits between then-US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un: the first in June 2018 in Singapore and the second in February 2019 in Hanoi, although neither one achieved bilateral agreement on the process of denuclearizing the Pyongyang regime.

Trump and Kim then met a third time on the border between North and South Korea in June 2019, but in December of that year, Pyongyang announced that it was suspending negotiations with the US.

Biden, who took office on Jan. 20, has not yet explained what his focus will be vis-a-vis North Korea, and his administration so far has only been reviewing US policy toward that country, including the possibility of dealing with its nuclear program and its ability to launch ballistic missiles.

As part of that process, the US administration has held meetings with former officials with experience on North Korea, including some who worked for the Trump administration.

Meanwhile, the North Korean leader in January urged the Biden administration to propose new alternatives for resuming the bilateral dialogue, warning that his country is preparing to undertake new weapons tests.

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