It comes as Biden’s administration prepares to unveil its strategy for dealing with Pyongyang and its nuclear programme. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said the Biden administration would seek a middle ground between former President Trump’s “grand bargain” and former President Obama’s “strategic patience” approaches.
However, Kwon Jong Gun, a senior North Korean Foreign Ministry official, claimed that talk of diplomacy was being used to cover up America’s “hostile policy”.
Harry Kazianis, senior director for the Center for the National Interest, explained that North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un is unlikely to “make any concessions upfront”
He told Express.co.uk: “North Korea is still smarting over the Hanoi Summit where they thought they could get a small nuclear deal with the Trump Administration for some at least mid-sized sanctions relief.
“Since then – and because Kim Jong-un took great political risks in going to Hanoi for it only to fail – North Korea does not want to look weak or make any concessions upfront.”
The Hanoi Summit was a two-day meeting between former President Trump and Mr Km in Vietnam in 2019.
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The summit was the second in person meeting between two leaders after their first in Singapore a year before.
On the second day of the summit, the White House announced that it was cut short and that no agreement was reached.
Mr Kazianis warned that North Korea “will continue to demand an end to the so-called hostile policy of the US” – including an end to sanctions, nuclear forces near or operating near the Korean Peninsula among other things “as a precursor to talks”.
The expert added: “Unless Washington will make the first move, I see at best a tense stalemate between both sides.
“However, as time goes on, and North Korea’s economy recovers from COVID, it will be very tempting for Kim once again to show off to the world the power of his nuclear arsenal.”
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However, Mr Kazianis did explain how Mr Biden knows his time in office will be judged on his response to the pandemic and the recovery of the US.
He said: “To be frank—and I think, to be clear, it’s a mistake—North Korea is likely this administration’s fifth or sixth top priority.”
Mr Kazianis added that the Biden administration seem ready to talk and create a diplomatic solution.
He added: “But they seem unwilling to expend any political capital to do it.
“And that’s where Biden’s so-called new North Korea policy morphs into Obama’s strategic patience DPRK policy—and how North Korea developed ICBMs and likely thermonuclear weapons.”