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U.S. began reaching out to North Korea in Feb., no response so far

WASHINGTON

The administration of U.S. President Joe Biden started reaching out to the North Korean government from mid-February but has received no response so far, a senior government official said Sunday.

The U.S. move, conducted through “several channels,” including Pyongyang’s mission to the United Nations, is aimed at reducing “risks of escalation,” the official said, possibly referring to North Korea’s testing of ballistic missiles and nuclear devices.

“To date, we have not received any response from Pyongyang. This follows over a year without active dialogue with North Korea, despite multiple attempts by the United States to engage,” the official added.

The Biden administration, meanwhile, continues what it calls a “thorough” review of U.S. policy toward North Korea in consultation with Japan and South Korea.

The review includes an evaluation of “all available options to address the increasing threat posed by North Korea,” it said, adding the United States is working with the two allies in Asia to “solicit input and explore fresh approaches.”

“We have listened carefully to their ideas, including through trilateral consultations,” the official said.

The North Korean nuclear issue is expected to be one of the key topics discussed when the U.S. and Japanese foreign and defense chiefs meet in Tokyo on Tuesday.

The review is expected to be completed in the “coming weeks,” the U.S. official said.

Biden’s predecessor Donald Trump engaged in unprecedented summit diplomacy with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, meeting him three times in 2018 and 2019 in hopes of convincing the country to give up its pursuit of nuclear weapons.

But negotiations made little progress during Trump’s four years in the White House that ended on Jan. 20 this year, with the two countries at odds over issues such as the degree of sanctions relief Pyongyang should receive for denuclearization steps.

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