White House signals openness to diplomacy with N. Korea after policy review

White House signals openness to diplomacy with N. Korea after policy review

U.S. President Joe Biden's recent speech, newly completed policy review, and his administration's comments on human rights show he is intent on maintaining a hostile policy toward North Korea, North Korea's Foreign Ministry said on Sunday.

The announcement, which comes 100 days into the Biden presidency, touches on one of the most anticipated elements of the new USA leader's foreign policy for America's East Asian allies.

Diplomacy was a "spurious signboard" for the United States to "cover up its hostile acts", the North Korean foreign ministry said in a statement run by the KCNA news agency. "His statement clearly reflects his intent to keep enforcing the hostile policy toward the DPRK as it had been done by the U.S. for over half a century", he said, using the initials for North Korea's official name.

Press secretary Jen Psaki announced Friday (local time) that administration officials had completed a review of USA policy toward North Korea, seen as one of the greatest and most vexing national security threats facing the United States and its allies.

Trump's two-term predecessor President Barack Obama, with Biden as vice president, chose "strategic patience", waiting for North Korea to take the initiative on denuclearization.

North Korea has hit out at the Biden administration as it prepares to unveil its strategy for dealing with Pyongyang and its nuclear programme.

"Our policy will not focus on achieving a grand bargain, nor will it rely on strategic patience", she said at a news conference on Friday.

The administration said it would conduct the review soon after Biden took office in January as it sought to gauge the path forward following former President Donald Trump's engagement efforts with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, which failed to persuade Pyongyang to de-nuclearize.

Markus Garlauskas, a senior fellow with the Atlantic Council and former U.S. national intelligence officer for North Korea, said Pyongyang's rhetoric is a reminder that the problem is bigger than terminology or tactics.

During the trip, Blinken sternly criticized North Korea's nuclear program and human rights record and pressed China to use its "tremendous influence" to convince the North to denuclearize.

The law has raised concerns over freedom of speech, with the United States - a treaty ally of the South - describing it as a "significant human rights issue" in an annual report in March.

In a statement issued on Sunday, Kim Yo Jong called the action by defectors a provocation against the North.

North Korea fired short-range missiles in March, just days after the sister of Kim Jong Un threatened the United States and South Korea for holding joint military exercises.

On April 15, Washington Post columnist David Ignatius quoted a senior administration official as saying the likelihood of North Korea giving up nuclear weapons right now was "close to zero" and the administration was seeking interim "way stations", such as halting weapons proliferation and checking North Korea's development of new delivery systems like submarine-launched ballistic missiles.

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