Blinken urges North Korea to denuclearize, calls on China to help

Blinken declined to comment on a statement by a North Korean diplomat that the Biden government’s contact with Pyongyang was a “cheap trick” and that there would be no dialogue until the United States drops its hostile policies .

“What has been heard from the US since the emergence of the new regime is just a crazy theory of the ‘threat from North Korea’ and unfounded rhetoric about ‘total denuclearization’,” said Choe Son Hui, the North’s first deputy foreign minister. in a statement on Thursday.

The Biden government has insisted that its goal is the complete denuclearization of North Korea, a request that Pyongyang, as a non-runner, rejects. And no mainstream analyst believes the North will ever voluntarily give up its entire nuclear arsenal.

During Thursday’s press conference, Blinken also urged China to use its “enormous influence” through its economic ties with North Korea to persuade Pyongyang to denuclearize.

The countries have a “common interest in seeing us do something about North Korea’s nuclear program and the increasingly dangerous ballistic missile program,” he said.

US officials are on alert for North Korea to resume long-range missile testing after a three-year hiatus in response to ongoing US-South Korean military exercises, POLITICO reported on Wednesday.

Pyongyang views the exercises as an act of hostility, despite the fact that the Trump administration has drastically scaled back the event in recent years due to diplomatic talks.

The back and forth recalls the early years of former President Donald Trump’s administration when Pyongyang launched a series of ICBMs that could reach the United States. Trump then threatened to unleash “fire and anger” against North Korea if it endangered the Americans; North Korean leader Kim Jong Un replied that he was considering a strike that would create “an enveloping fire” around Guam.

North Korea stopped testing long-range ballistic and nuclear missiles after a summit meeting between Trump and Kim in Singapore in 2018. But it has continued to develop and display advanced new weapons over the past year and run a series of short-range missile tests.

The latest sharp rhetoric began on Tuesday when Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin held meetings in Japan. Kim’s sister Kim Yo Jong criticized Washington and its South Korean allies for joint military exercises. In a fiery statement, she warned the new Biden government not to “cause a stink”.

“If you want to sleep well for the next four years, it would be good if you don’t do things that would prevent you from getting proper sleep in the first place,” she said.

The leader’s sister also threatened to abandon a 2018 bilateral deal to ease military tensions with Seoul and dismantle a decade-old unit tasked with running Korean relations.

“We’ll keep an eye on it [South Korea’s] Attitude and behavior and if they get more provocative we could take extraordinary measures, ”she said.

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