The US secretary of state has said Washington will look for actions, not words, to resume stalled denuclearization talks.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said North Korea must decide whether it wants to engage diplomatically to find ways to achieve denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
Talks to persuade Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear weapons program have stalled since a third summit collapsed between President Joe Biden’s predecessor Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
“I hope North Korea will take the opportunity to engage diplomatically and see if there are ways to move forward towards the goal of denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” Blinken told a conference. press release in London on Monday.
“And so we’re going to be looking to see not just what North Korea says, but what it’s actually doing,” Blinken said.
“It is, I think, North Korea to decide whether or not it wants to engage on this basis.”
North Korea had previously criticized the United States in a series of statements claiming that Washington’s recent comments were evidence of a hostile policy which required a corresponding response.
The Biden administration announced its new North Korea policy on Friday following a lengthy review.
Chinese Ambassador to the United Nations Zhang Jun said he hoped the review would place more emphasis on dialogue rather than pressure. China is a neighbor and an ally of Pyongyang.
“Based on what we’ve seen in recent years, we believe diplomatic efforts are the right direction,” Zhang told reporters in New York on Monday. “And we also hope that both sides … will refrain from taking provocative and confrontational measures and make more efforts in resuming dialogue.”
‘No big deal’
Complete denuclearization of North Korea remains the US goal under the new policy, with the administration saying it will explore diplomacy but not seek a “big deal ” with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
Biden’s policies attempt to find common ground between Trump’s efforts and those of former President Barack Obama, who has refused serious diplomatic engagement unless Pyongyang takes steps to reduce tensions.
North Korea wants the United States and its allies to lift economic sanctions on their weapons programs and has so far refused the Biden administration’s diplomatic requests.
The White House has not said whether it will offer concessions to get North Korea to resume talks.
Blinken is in the British capital for the first in-person meeting of the Group of Seven in two years.
Blinken has consulted with his counterparts in Japan and South Korea on Biden’s new approach.
The senior American diplomat admitted that successive administrations, including the Democratic Party, had failed to stop nuclear work by North Korea, which has carried out six atomic bomb tests since 2006.
“What we have now is a policy that calls for a calibrated and practical approach that is open and will explore diplomacy with North Korea to try to make practical progress,” Blinken said.
The three-day talks in London will set the stage for a leaders’ summit next month in southwest England on what will be Biden’s first overseas trip as US president.