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The Biden administration has been quietly trying to reach out to North Korea, but keeps getting ignored

  • Biden’s administration has been trying to contact North Korea since mid-February, reports say.
  • But North Korea has not responded to any of those attempts to talk, a US official said.
  • Biden has not yet shared his policy on North Korea, which is still developing nuclear weapons.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

President Joe Biden’s administration has been trying to contact North Korea via several channels over the past month, but is receiving no response, Reuters, CNN, and the Associated Press reported, all citing a senior administration official.

“To reduce the risks of escalation, we reached out to the North Korean government through several channels starting in mid-February, including in New York,” the official said, according to CNN, referring to North Korea’s mission to the United Nations.

“To date, we have not received any response from Pyongyang,” the official said, per the reports.

The official added that the US and North Korea had had no “active dialogue” for over a year, “despite multiple attempts by the US to engage.”

Neither report gave details on what the attempts to contact North Korea entailed or what level of contact the Biden administration wants to have with North Korea. Insider has contacted the White House for comment.

However, the official told CNN that the administration is reviewing the US policy toward North Korea,” including evaluation of all available options to address the increasing threat posed by North Korea to its neighbors and the broader international community.”

Biden has not shared his North Korea policy since taking office on January 20.

Reports of the attempted US outreach comes as Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin travel to Japan and South Korea — North Korea’s neighbors — for four days of meetings. They plan to focus discussions on North Korea’s nuclear challenge as well as how to deal with China, according to the AP.

North Korea soldiers troops parade

North Korea celebrates the 75th anniversary of the founding of the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea, in this image released by North Korea’s Central News Agency on October 10, 2020.

KCNA via REUTERS


Biden’s predecessor, former President Donald Trump, broke with decades of American tradition to become the first sitting US president to meet North Korea’s leader.

Trump met with Kim Jong Un three times during his tenure: once in Singapore, once in Vietnam, and once at the Demilitarized Zone between South and North Korea. The last meeting was Trump’s idea, and his top advisors said it had caught them by surprise.

Trump’s meetings with Kim aimed to rein in North Korea’s nuclear-weapons program and denuclearize the Korean Peninsula.

Trump repeatedly touted his relationship with Kim as a foreign-policy win. But those meetings yielded few positive results, as North Korea retains its nuclear arsenal and continues development.

A confidential UN report seen by Reuters last month said that North Korea maintained and developed its nuclear and ballistic missile programs through 2020, despite international sanctions forbidding it. The report also said that North Korean hackers stole $316 million in 2020 alone to fund nuclear-weapons development.

Satellite imagery published by CNN early this month also showed that North Korea had been trying to hide a facility that US intelligence agencies believe is a  store for nuclear weapons.

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