© Reuters. Jen Psaki speaks at the White House in Washington
From Steve Holland
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – North Korea has so far rejected requests from the United States to engage in dialogue, the White House said Monday as the cooling off in relations that began under then-President Donald Trump spread to the presidency of Joe Biden .
Nuclear-armed North Korea gave up diplomacy with Trump, despite the fact that he and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un had three high-profile summits and exchanged a number of letters.
Trump had turned down North Korean requests to relax sanctions on Pyongyang unless Kim took steps to dismantle his nuclear program, which he refused.
Jen Psaki, White House spokeswoman in Biden, told reporters that US officials have reached North Korea through a number of channels since taking office nearly two months ago.
“Our goal is to reduce the risk of escalation, but we have not received a response so far,” said Psaki.
She did not comment on what kind of escalation the United States was. North Korea carried out six nuclear tests between 2006 and 2017.
Psaki said the government has consulted former US government officials involved in North Korea policy by previous governments, while also seeking input from allies Japan and South Korea.
“This follows over a year of no active dialogue with North Korea, even though the US has tried several times to get involved … You can all assume that engagement with partners and allies in the region will continue to grow,” she said.
A senior government official from Biden told Reuters on Saturday that efforts had been made to reach the North Korean government through multiple channels as of mid-February.
The Pentagon expressed concern earlier this month over a UN report pointing to North Korea’s possible nuclear fuel reprocessing for bombs.
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