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U.S. calls on North Korea to engage diplomatically

Voice of America News

The United States said it is ready to engage diplomatically with Pyongyang to achieve denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, following the completion of a monthslong U.S. policy review on North Korea.

“What we have now is a policy that calls for a calibrated practical approach that is open to and will explore diplomacy with North Korea, to try to make practical progress that increases the security of the United States, our allies and our deployed forces,” U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, pictured, said in early May 2021 during a virtual news conference with British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab in London.

Raab said Britain and the U.S. “share the strategic paradigm” and will support each other’s efforts.

U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration announced in late April 2021 that it had completed a review of North Korean policy, expressing openness to talks with the reclusive communist nation. The U.S. is also expected to appoint a special envoy for North Korean human rights issues.

North Korea lashed out at the U.S. and its allies in a series of statements, saying recent comments from Washington are proof of a hostile policy.

A statement by Kwon Jong Gun, head of the North Korean Foreign Ministry’s North America Department, warned that Pyongyang would seek “corresponding measures,” and that Washington would soon face an increasingly costly crisis if it tried to approach relations with Pyongyang through “outdated and old-school policies” from the perspective of the Cold War.

“I hope that North Korea will take the opportunity to engage diplomatically and to see if there are ways to move forward toward the objective of complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” Blinken said. “And so, we’ll look to see not only what North Korea says but what it actually does in the coming days and months.”

Blinken’s remarks followed his meetings with Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi and South Korean Foreign Minister Chung Eui-yong, where the foreign ministers pledged trilateral cooperation toward the peninsula’s denuclearization.

Blinken traveled to London for meetings with his counterparts from G-7 nations, with the coronavirus pandemic, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and Russia high on the agenda during three days of formal talks and side discussions.

“I think it’s fair to say we see eye to eye on the need to stand up for our values, holding Beijing to the commitments that they’ve made, whether it’s in relation to Hong Kong under the [Sino-British] Joint Declaration or wider commitments,” Raab said.

He added that Britain and the U.S. are seeking constructive ways to work with the PRC “in a sensible and positive manner” on issues including climate change when possible.

Senior U.S. officials have said it is not Washington’s purpose to try to contain the PRC but to uphold an international rules-based order.

President Biden has identified competition with the PRC as his administration’s greatest foreign policy challenge. In his first speech to the U.S. Congress in late April 2021, he pledged to maintain a strong U.S. military presence in the Indo-Pacific and boost U.S. technological development.

Also in April, Blinken said the U.S. is concerned about ’the PRC’s aggressive actions against Taiwan and warned that it would be a “serious mistake” for anyone to try to change the status quo in the Indo-Pacific by force.

The G-7 ministerial talks set the foundation for a summit of leaders from those countries in June 2021, also in Britain. In addition to Britain and the U.S., the G-7 includes Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan. Australia, Brunei, India, South Africa and South Korea also took part in the ministerial talks. Blinken also met with Bruneian Foreign Minister II Dato Erywan Yusof and Indian Minister of External Affairs Subrahmanyam Jaishankar.



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