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North Korea breaks silence to warn US against ‘causing a stink’

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“We take this opportunity to warn the new US administration that it is trying to smell dust in our land,” it said in a statement, according to the country’s state news agency.

“If you want to sleep peacefully for the next four years, you better refrain from stinking at the first step,” he said. The warning comes as the U.S. and South Korea conduct reduced and simulated military exercises, and U.S. Secretary of State Tony Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin have touched the region for meetings with their counterparts. Japanese and South Koreans.

Earlier Monday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters the administration had contacted North Korea and noted that they have “several channels, as we have always had, that we can get through.”

“Diplomacy is always our goal. Our goal is to reduce the risk of escalation. But so far we have not received any response,” Psaki said, noting that the disclosure “continues for a year without an active dialogue with North Korea, despite multiple attempts by the US to get involved. “

However, experts told CNN before Kim Yo Jong’s message that Pyongyang would likely reject diplomatic efforts for various reasons, such as the coronavirus pandemic, the North Korean political review of Biden’s team, the meetings in the rhetorical region of the administration.

The Biden administration is still conducting a review of the Trump administration’s North Korean policy, which could be announced “in the coming weeks,” according to a senior State Department official. While President Joe Biden is unlikely to write “love letters” to Kim Jong Un as his predecessor did, the Biden administration has not yet offered a clear break with the previous administration in its goals. declared for their focus on the Hermit Kingdom. On several occasions, in statements, statements or briefings, U.S. officials have said their goal is “the complete denuclearization of North Korea.”

“This is just a start for North Koreans,” said Jeffrey Lewis of the Middlebury Institute for International Studies.

“Denuclearization is not initial”

“Denuclearization is not a principle,” said Vipin Narang, an associate professor of political science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who added that “every time we use that phrase it’s a five-yard penalty, because northerners Koreans never agreed. “

North Koreans see several reasons why they should not be denuclearized according to recent history, including situations in Iraq, Libya, and, more recently, Iran. Leaders in Iraq and Libya were overthrown after giving up their nuclear programs under US pressure, while Iran signed an agreement with the US only to withdraw the Trump administration, impose crippling economic sanctions and then assassinate the country’s leading general and nuclear scientist.

Frank Aum, a senior North Korean expert at the U.S. Peace Institute, noted that “it’s okay to meet the long-term goal of denuclearization, complete denuclearization for North Korea, but I think the the way you send this message will be very important “.

“It has to be nuanced because you can’t say, you know, we want to have talks, and the talks will be about the complete denuclearization of North Korea, because that sounds like a lot,” he told CNN. “It should be long-term and not Libya’s model of complete denuclearization before giving them everything they want.”

In 2018, after a summit in Singapore between then-President Donald Trump and Kim, North Korea and the United States agreed to work for the “complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” a phrase that North Koreans they have long interpreted how the US also has an obligation to eliminate any nuclear weapon capable of having it on Korean soil.

But after the summit, Trump administration officials, including former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, said the deal pledged North Korea to the complete, verifiable, and irreversible dismantling of its nuclear program, though it did not. he said nothing of the sort.

North Korea would go on to describe Pompey as a “tough toxin” whose “unilateral, thief-like denuclearization demands” contradicted the spirit and letter of the Trump-Kim summit. An unnamed North Korean official told the Central Korean State News Agency in March 2020 that “hearing Pompey’s ridiculous language made us give up any hope of dialogue.”

Narang said Biden officials’ insistence on adopting the same emphasis on North Korean denuclearization “will probably not help, when he insists on something they have rejected out of control.”

Former officials and experts also noted that the commitments of Biden administration officials not to raise tariffs in North Korea during the confirmation hearings did not go unnoticed, which could be a factor driving Pyongyang’s decision. of not engaging directly with the US.

North Korea after close meetings

Kim will also closely monitor meetings in Seoul and Tokyo between Blinken and Austin and their Japanese and South Korean counterparts this week and an Alaska meeting between Blinken, national security adviser Jake Sullivan and his Chinese counterparts. North Korea is expected to incorporate these talks, especially with South Koreans.

“What if the United States and China come out of their meetings this week and make it clear that they are heading to increase tensions between the United States and China? If you’re Kim Jong Un, you’ll read it as meaning it’s less likely let China put pressure on North Korea, “said Anthony Ruggiero, a former National Security Council official. “If that happens, maybe Kim now knows she can go to China to buy more parts for her nuclear programs or to go to China and sell more coal. That would be a bad sign for the future of any American diplomacy and American “. “

Aum also claimed that North Koreans could also be pointing out “that they want to relate to the United States at a higher level, because there has been the precedent that was set with the leadership-level summits between Trump and Kim.” .

How Biden’s foreign policy approach is based from Trump

Pyongyang largely rejected efforts at work-level talks between North Korean administration officials and Trump, and the few meetings that took place did not yield tangible results.

Despite Kim Yo Jong’s warning to the new administration, North Korea did not welcome the arrival of the new US president with a test of its missiles or other weapons, as is often the case.

Aum said he doesn’t think “they would want to do anything to provoke the United States before some bigger signal that the U.S. will take a very hostile approach.”

However, in recent days there has been activity at North Korea’s Yongbyon nuclear facility, according to analysis of new satellite images released by 38 North, a prominent North Korean control group. .

And official trips to the region, military exercises and Biden’s meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga in April could still push Pyongyang into a kind of provocation.

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