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The new US envoy is invited to North Korea

The new US envoy is invited to North Korea

Sung Kim, a seasoned diplomat at the Foreign Ministry, will discover whether the North Korean leadership is ready for diplomatic engagement.

Moon welcomes the letter and describes Biden’s position on the northern neighbor as pragmatism and pragmatism.

Biden also plays down expectations and says he has no illusions about the difficulties in persuading North Korea to give up its nuclear arsenal.

The last four (US) governments have not succeeded in achieving this goal. It is a very difficult target, he says and describes the situation as very worrying.

Analyze the shoes

It is unusual for a special envoy to be presented at a press conference in this way, aiming to send a message to North Korea, according to Scott Snyder at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Song has extensive experience with North Korea. He participated in the Six-Party Talks (in the first decade of the twenty-first century) and in the preparation for the Singapore Summit. So it worked under multiple governments, says Snyder.

He says that during the Bush administration, Sung Kim visited a nuclear facility in North Korea, and then US experts analyzed his shoes to reveal details of North Korea’s activities.

Waiting reaction

It remains to be seen whether the North Koreans are ready to come to the negotiating table.

What North Korea will not like is that Biden has repeatedly emphasized that abolishing nuclear weapons is the goal of the talks, says Snyder and continues:

Biden also made some statements about what he is not ready to do to Kim Jong Un, which may be sensitive to North Korea, for example that he does not want to grant him prestige or legitimacy.

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Snyder believes North Korea chooses to focus on the positive or the negative. Pyongyang could also notice that the Biden government recently confirmed that it would build on the agreement that Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un signed during the Singapore meeting in 2018.

If North Korea doesn’t want to talk, they’ll find reasons not to do so, but if they decide they want to talk, they can focus on positive countries, says Snyder.

There may be some kind of public reaction from the closed state in the next few days, but Scott Snyder stresses that what is said in private is what matters, and it may take some time before it is noticed.

Closer cooperation

South Korea’s Moon is the second world leader after Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, who has faced Biden at the White House since he took office as president of the United States earlier this year.

One of the goals of the new US government is to strengthen ties with allies to counter China’s growing influence.

The two leaders announced, among other things, that the United States will supply 550,000 South Korean soldiers with the Covid vaccine. South Korea will also invest in the United States in semiconductors and batteries for electric cars.

Snyder believed that when it came to the relationship with China, there were relatively few words, but more verbs.

The two countries will work more closely to ensure “peace and stability” in the Taiwan Strait.

Compared to the Trump administration, the Biden government is fulfilling its promise to re-establish its alliances. Scott Snyder says South Korea may have got what it wanted from the Biden government when it came to North Korean policy.

What one can assume that the Biden government wanted in return is for South Korea to join the US side more when it comes to China. What was amazing was the functional collaboration, not the verbal solidarity, he says.

Gustav Scholm / TT

Facts: The United States and North Korea

In the spring of 2018, the relationship between dictatorship and nuclear power in North Korea and the Western world thaws slightly.

After several angry and rhetorical trips, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and the United States met Donald Trump in a historic meeting in Singapore on June 12, 2018. There, they both signed an agreement on denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula. However, the agreement has been criticized for containing overly vague demands from the dictatorship.

It was the first time that a US president in office had met the leader of North Korea.

At the second summit in February 2019 in Vietnam, they failed to reach an agreement.

The two met again in June 2019, in the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea, and agreed to continue the talks.

In October, negotiators from North Korea and the United States met in Sweden to breathe new life into the process, but the negotiations concluded without any tangible results.