As he spoke with colleagues at a Group of Seven forum for foreign ministers in London this week, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken urged North Korea to come to the negotiation table.
His comments come after Washington reported last week that it had completed its analysis of North Korea strategy.
“I hope that North Korea will take the opportunity to engage diplomatically and to see if there are ways to move forward toward the objective of complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” Blinken said Monday at a joint press conference with British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab.
“We’ll look to see not only what North Korea says but what it actually does in the coming days and months,” he added. “But we have a very clear policy that centers on diplomacy and it is up to North Korea to decide whether it wants to engage or not on that basis.”
Blinken said that the new policy takes “a practical, calibrated approach” and will “try to make practical progress that increases the security of the United States, our allies and our deployed forces.”
Over the weekend, North Korea issued a statement that warned the United States of consequences for what it called its “hostile policy,” saying that it would face a “crisis beyond control in the near future.”
“The U.S.-claimed ‘diplomacy’ is a spurious signboard for covering up its hostile acts, and ‘deterrence’ touted by it is just a means for posing nuclear threats to the DPRK,” Pyongyang foreign ministry official Kwon Jong Gun said in a state-run media report. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is the official name for North Korea.
Nuclear talks between Washington and Pyongyang have been stalled for more than two years, following the failure of a February 2019 summit between then-US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to reach an agreement.
North Korea had sought compromises such as the lifting of international sanctions in exchange for taking measures towards dismantling its nuclear arsenal, while the US had insisted on full denuclearization first.
Blinken admitted on Monday that North Korea is still a “incredibly hard problem” that “is yet to be solved from administration to administration.”
“We wanted to take [into] account that history, to look at what works, what doesn’t work, and how we could have an effective policy to advance the goal that we have, which is the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” he added.
Blinken said that the strategy was briefed by “very actively consulting with all of the concerned countries, starting with our close allies South Korea and Japan.”
On Monday, Washington’s top diplomat met with his colleagues from South Korea, Chung Eui-Yong, and Japan, Toshimitsu Motegi. According to Yonhap, the three are due to hold trilateral talks on Wednesday.