Biden, South Korea’s Moon express willingness to engage Pyongyang

WASHINGTON – The United States and South Korea are both willing to engage in diplomacy with North Korea to reduce tensions, said President Joe Biden on Friday (May 21), adding that he was willing to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong Un under the right conditions.

Washington and Seoul also announced greater cooperation in producing more Covid-19 vaccines, securing semiconductor chip supply chains, and combating climate change, as Mr Biden met with his South Korean counterpart Moon Jae-in.

Mr Moon was the second foreign leader to be hosted by Mr Biden since he took office, after Japanese prime minister Yoshihide Suga last month – a pair of visits that underscored the importance of both Asian alliances to the Biden administration’s foreign policy.

Both leaders stressed they were on the same page when it came to North Korea, with Mr Moon welcoming the Biden administration’s “calibrated and practical” approach to denuclearisation, and Mr Biden saying that the US would proceed in close consultation with South Korea.

Mr Biden also announced that veteran diplomat Sung Kim would be the new US special envoy for North Korea.

Mr Sung Kim, who has served as US ambassador to Indonesia, the Philippines and South Korea, was involved in the six-party talks and helped organise the 2018 meeting between President Donald Trump and North Korean chairman Kim Jong Un in Singapore.

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