Joe Biden discusses North Korea threat during debate
Former State Department official Philip Yun said Mr Biden needs to adopt diplomacy when engaging with Kim Jong-un, in the same way Mr Trump did in 2018. The outgoing President made historic steps in dealing with North Korea, including becoming the first US leader to visit the country and having direct communication with Kim Jong-un. During the lead up to the US election, Mr Biden described the North Korean leader as a “thug”.
Mr Yun spoke out about how the President-Elect needs to engage in top-level diplomacy with North Korea.
He said to Newsweek: “There’s an opportunity here.
“Donald Trump has opened up something and if you use it well, it could result in something that’s meaningful.”
Mr Yun worked under President Bill Clinton as senior advisor to the Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, and visited North Korea with then-Secretary of State Madeleine Albright in 2000 in an abandoned effort to build talks with the US.
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The now-CEO of World Affairs also raised fears Mr Biden will scrap the diplomatic in-roads made by his predecessor to show how different his administration will be.
Mr Yun added: “I’m not worried about them saying that ‘because Trump did this, we’re not going to do that,’ I don’t think that’s going to be the case.
“I think there are things that they’re going to have to do that Trump didn’t do that were major omissions, but they’re going to take the good, and then they’re going to throw out the bad.”
He suggested Mr Trump failed to maintain working-level talks with North Korea, and also failed to keep in line with South Korean policy about their neighbours.
Harry Kazianis, senior director of Korea Studies at the Center for the National Interest, also weighed in on Mr Biden carrying on Mr Trump’s diplomacy, and said including South Korea in the US’ approach will be essential.
Also speaking to Newsweek, he said: “For Biden, he needs to come to the realisation he does not have the political capital to try and force enough pressure on North Korea to give up their nuclear weapons.”
Mr Kazianis suggested the US share negotiations with Seoul, as well as adopt a more practical goal in regards to North Korea’s nuclear weapons.
He added: “That can only mean pushing denuclearisation into being some sort of aspirational goal and working towards arms control, capping the DPRK’s nuclear program while allowing South Korea to lead the process of normalisation of relations.
“That is the only sustainable policy worth pursuing in the age of COVID.”
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The warnings to Mr Biden come after he blasted Kim Jong-un in the second presidential debate with Mr Trump.
During the October 23 debate, the former Vice President compared the North Korean leader to Adolf Hitler and attacked Mr Trump for attempting diplomacy.
He said in regards to the President’s denuclearisation efforts: “What has he done? He’s legitimised North Korea. He’s talked about his good buddy, who’s a thug.
“And he talks about how we are better off and they have much more capable missiles and are able to reach U.S. territory much more easily than it ever did before.”
Mr Trump and Kim Jong-un met face-to-face for the first time in 2018, where the two leaders held a summit in Singapore to discuss North Korea’s nuclear programme.
The US President then flew to the Korean Demilitarised Zone in 2019, becoming the first leader to appear in the region, to continue the talks.
Despite initially being receptive to American diplomacy, North Korea has since continued developing its weapons and ended relations with the US.
During October’s North Korean military parade, marking 75 years of the ruling Worker’s Party, Kim Jong-un unveiled a new intercontinental ballistic missile capable of striking anywhere in the US.
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