The US special envoy for North Korea said Monday that he hopes leaders in Pyongyang would be willing to meet for talks “anytime, anywhere.” The comments came after North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un said he was prepared for “dialogue or confrontation” with the Biden administration.
“We continue to hope that the DPRK will respond positively to our outreach and our offer to meet anywhere, anytime without preconditions,” said Sung Kim, President Biden’s North Korea envoy.
Sung Kim made the comments from Seoul, where he met with South Korean and Japanese officials to discuss North Korea. The US envoy also said Washington will continue enforcing sanctions against Pyongyang. “In the meantime, we will continue to implement all UN Security Council Resolutions addressing the DPRK,” he said.
Sung Kim said the US was still waiting to hear back from Pyongyang about its offer for talks. “Hopefully, Chairman Kim’s reference to dialogue indicates that we will get a positive response soon,” he said.
While the Biden administration is offering talks, it is still calling for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, which is a non-starter for negotiations with Pyongyang since North Korea has no incentive to give up its nukes before getting any sanctions relief. A more realistic approach that was entertained by the Trump administration would be an offer to lift some sanctions in exchange for a freeze in Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons program.
National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan made it clear Sunday that the Biden administration is still calling for denuclearization. Arguing in favor of pursuing diplomacy with North Korea, Sullivan said, “There’s no substitute for diplomacy to begin to make progress towards that ultimate objective — the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”