Wednesday, November 24, 2021

North Korea tops agenda as South Korean president visits White House

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U.S. President Joe Biden will receive his South Korean counterpart Moon Jae-in at the White House on Friday for talks dominated by the North Korean nuclear threat.

It is the second visit by a foreign leader since Biden took office in January.

In April, Biden hosted Japanese Prime Minister, Yoshihide Suga, another key ally of Washington in East Asia.

Moon is in his final year in office, and his opportunity to advance peace with the North running short.

For Biden, he is confronting a goal that has eluded predecessors stretching back to Bill Clinton: stamping out Pyongyang’s nuclear programme.

North Korea’s  regime test fired short range missiles in March, which was seen as a challenge to the new Biden administration.

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U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Pentagon boss Lloyd Austin travelled to Seoul in recent months as part of Washington’s efforts to coordinate strategy with the South.

Biden has promised “responses’’ if North Korea escalates, but has not offered a detailed outline of his approach beyond efforts to pursue talks with North Korea.

Former U.S. President Donald Trump engaged in face to face diplomacy with North Korean ruler Kim Jong Un, with whom he had a famously hot and cold relationship.

White House Press Secretary, Jen Psaki was asked by a reporter on Thursday if a Biden-Kim encounter was possible.

“I don’t expect that to be top on his agenda,’’ she said.

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Moon and Biden, who will hold a joint press conference after their talks, are also expected to discuss climate change and vaccine supply issues.

dpa/NAN

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