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Biden and South Korean President Moon both express an interest in engaging North Korea.

Berita 24 English -  Presidents Joe Biden of the United States and Moon Jae-in of South Korea injected new urgency into engaging North Kore...

Berita 24 English
-  Presidents Joe Biden of the United States and Moon Jae-in of South Korea injected new urgency into engaging North Korea in dialogue over its nuclear weapons on Friday, with Biden stating that he would meet with North Korea leader Kim Jong Un under the right circumstances.

Biden and Moon both stated that their goal is to completely denuclearize the Korean peninsula. Biden emphasises that he is "under no illusions" about the difficulty of convincing North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons after his predecessors failed.

"We are both deeply concerned about the situation," Biden said during a joint news conference, adding that he and Moon shared a willingness to engage diplomatically with the North and "take pragmatic steps to de-escalate tensions."

Since Biden took over from Donald Trump, who held three summits with Kim and famously exchanged "beautiful letters" with the third-generation leader, North Korea has rebuffed US diplomatic efforts.

Kim refused to give up his nuclear weapons but agreed to a moratorium on their testing. Since 2017, he has not conducted a nuclear test or launched an intercontinental ballistic missile, though experts believe his arsenal has grown steadily.

Biden indicated that he would meet Kim under the right circumstances – if he agreed to discuss his nuclear program and if his advisers met with their North Korean counterparts first.

"I would not do what has been done in the recent past; I would not give him everything he seeks - international legitimacy - and allow him to appear more... serious about something he was not at all serious about."

Biden's remarks appeared to reflect a shift in his thinking, given that the White House stated in March that meeting with Kim was not in the president's plans.


Biden appointed Sung Kim, a veteran State Department official, as the United States' special envoy to North Korea.

South Korea had pushed for the appointment of an envoy, and Moon, who views engagement with North Korea as a legacy issue before stepping down next year, said Sung Kim would assist in determining whether North Korea is willing to engage diplomatically. He stated that he anticipated a favourable response.

Sung Kim is a Korean-American diplomat who served as President Barack Obama's special envoy for North Korea and assisted in setting up Trump's summits with Kim Jong Un.

Jenny Town, executive director of 38 North, a Washington-based North Korea project, said Sung Kim's appointment was a positive development after the administration indicated it was not in a rush to fill the position.

It has not, however, indicated what concessions it might make to initiate talks. A joint summit statement emphasized the importance of fully implementing the international sanctions Pyongyang seeks to lift.

"The issue has been that the administration has focused exclusively on denuclearization and has continued to characterize all interactions with North Korea as nuclear negotiations," Town explained. "So it's still a tough sell to convince the North Koreans to return to the negotiating table, but Moon is clearly going to push very hard."

Biden's administration conducted a broad review of North Korea policy but has said little about what its new approach will entail, other than that it will not be Obama's refusal to engage North Korea or Trump's flashy summitry.

Biden and Moon reaffirmed a strong alliance in the aftermath of Trump's attacks on Moon and threats to withdraw US troops from South Korea.

After Japan's prime minister- Moon was the second foreign leader - to pay a visit to the White House since Biden took office in January, and Biden described their exchanges as those of "old friends."

They also discussed China and Taiwan, which has complained repeatedly about Beijing's military pressure.

"We agreed that peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait are critical, and we agreed to work together on that issue while taking into account the unique characteristics of China-Taiwan relations," Moon said.

Taiwan's Foreign Ministry expressed gratitude for the assistance, noting that the island "has always been critical to regional stability and prosperity."

Washington desired a strong statement from Moon on China. Still, in the absence of such a statement, given the South Korean leader's concern about upsetting his country's largest trading partner, Biden welcomed multibillion-dollar investments by South Korean firms in strategic US sectors such as microchips, where he has stated that the US and its allies must outcompete Beijing.

The two countries agreed in the summit statement to develop open and transparent 5G and 6G telecommunications networks and to increase global supplies of automotive chips. Additionally, they agreed to investigate the establishment of a supply chain task force for high-tech manufacturing.

Moon, facing domestic pressure over the COVID-19 pandemic, announced that the two countries had agreed to form a vaccine partnership that would combine US expertise and Korean manufacturing capacity.

He stated that this would aid in the supply of COVID-19 vaccines in the Indo-Pacific region, while Biden stated that the US would vaccinate 550,000 South Korean soldiers.

Seoul pledged to "significantly" increase its contribution to the COVAX international vaccine distribution effort this year. The two countries committed to working with other partners to establish a new health security financing mechanism.

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