Top Biden Asia official: Pyongyang lost all interest in U.S. diplomacy after Trump exit

FPI / December 13, 2023


North Korea has not engaged with the United States since President Donald Trump left the White House, the top U.S. East Asia official in the Biden Administration told Congress.

Kurt Campbell: ‘We’ve had difficulty getting any takers even in addressing our letters or approaches’ to North Korea. / Mariam Zuhaib / AP

All attempts by the Biden team at outreach to the Kim Jong-Un regime have been rejected, Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Kurt Campbell told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee last week.

“The North Koreans have rebuffed every effort that we have utilized to try to reach out to them,” Campbell told the committee, which is weighing his nomination for deputy secretary of state. “We’ve had difficulty getting any takers even in addressing our letters or approaches to them.”

Campbell said Pyongyang has taken “very dangerous steps” in deciding to help Russia with munitions to aid its war in Ukraine.

Trump and Kim Jong-Un, who met in summits in 2018 and 2019, still maintain a personal relationship, reported on Dec. 5.

Related: 2024 U.S. election seen changing Korean matrix: Trump and Kim still in contact, December 5, 2023

After leaving office, Trump told associates that he remained in contact with Kim, according to “Confidence Man: The Making of Donald Trump and the Breaking of America,” a book released last year.

The possibility of Trump returning to the White House would likely revive talks between the United States and North Korea and could raise doubts over any commitments made by Washington to Seoul under President Joe Biden, analysts say.

“If Trump is elected, the South Korea-U.S. alliance will likely change profoundly,” said Hwang Ji-hwan, a professor of international relations at the University of Seoul.

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