SEOUL, South Korea — North Korean leader Kim Jong Un issued his first official response to the Biden administration, telling his government to prepare for “both dialogue and confrontation” with the US, according to the Korean Central News Agency.
Sung Kim, President Joe Biden’s new nuclear envoy, is scheduled to visit Seoul this weekend to meet with top Korean and Japanese officials and discuss relations with North Korea in light of the country’s growing nuclear arsenal.
“It appears that North Korea has chosen a very flexible and practical approach to nuclear negotiations,” Cheong Seong-Chang, director of The Sejong Institute’s Center for North Korean Studies, told ABC News.
Kim said he has “made a detailed analysis” of Biden’s North Korea policy and “clarified appropriate strategic and tactical counteraction” during a meeting of his ruling Workers’ Party’s Central Committee on Thursday. The state media claimed that a unanimous resolution was passed, but no other information was provided. The meeting will be held again on Friday.
“Biden’s approach to Pyongyang is somewhere between Trump’s all-or-nothing approach and Obama’s deliberately prudent diplomacy. North Korea is open to all options, including confrontation and negotiation. However, with the new Biden administration, Kim has more alternatives than in the past” According to ABC News, Bong Young-Shik, a research researcher at the Yonsei Institute for North Korean Studies,
The White House announced in April that Biden would take “a calibrated practical approach that is open to and will explore diplomacy” with North Korea after a months-long review.
“North Korea is waiting for the US to propose an option,” Shin Beom-Chul, director of the Research Institute for Economy and Society’s Center of Diplomacy and National Security, told ABC News. “If they are not satisfied, there’s always a chance they will engage in provocations around the Tokyo Olympics in July or ROK-US military exercises planned in August.”