On Friday the United States will brief South Korea and Japan on President Joe Biden's long-awaited review of North Korea's policy in talks which will also cover concerns about a shortage of semiconductor chips, a senior administration official said on Thursday.
Suh Hoon, a Japanese security adviser of Biden, will have a full day of talks with his Japanese counterpart, Shigeru Kitamura, and the national security adviser of South Korea, Jake Sullivan, at the U.S. It will be the most senior-level meeting between the three allies since Biden took power on Jan 20 and come against a backdrop of rising tensions after North Korean missile launches last week.
Last week, Biden warned the United States remained open to diplomacy with North Korea despite its ballistic missile tests but said there would be reactions if North Korea escalates matters.
The senior administration official said that the Annapolis talks would include discussion of missile launches, the extent of coronavirus infections within China and recent diplomacy between Pyongyang and its main ally, North Korea.
The primary goal is to ensure that we have a deep, shared understanding of the circumstances that are taking place on the peninsula in North Korea, he told reporters, noting that some reports indicated North Korea had been on a total lockdown due to the pandemic.
The White House has shared little about its review of North Korea and whether it will offer concessions to get Pyongyang to the negotiating table to discuss renegade nuclear weapons.
However, on Thursday, State Department spokesman Ned Price said that denuclearization would remain at the center of policy and any approach to Pyongyang will have to be done in lockstep with close allies including Japan and South Korea.
Kim Jong Un's predecessor, Trump Democratic Leader, held three meetings with North Korean leader Donald Trump but achieved no breakthrough other than a pause in nuclear and intercontinental ballistic tests.
Biden, a Democrat, has tried to engage North Korea in dialogue, but has been so far rebuffed. Pyongyang, which has long sought a lifting of international sanctions over its weapons program, said last week that the Biden administration had taken a wrong first step and revealed deep-seated hostility by criticizing what it called self-defensive missile tests.
The U.S. official said the North Korea review was in its final stages and we 're prepared now to have some final consultations with Japan and South Korea as we proceed forward.
Joseph Yun, who was the U.S. Special Envoy for North Korea under both former President Donald Obama and Trump, said the policy options were obvious: you want denuclearization and you want to use your sanctions to gain Denuclearization.
How should we make the first step, so at least North Korea is persuaded to not do anything provocative?
That is the challenge. Some proponents of dialogue are concerned that the Biden administration has not highlighted a broad agreement between Trump and Kim at their first meeting in Singapore in 2018 and warn this could make it difficult to build trust. Asked whether that agreement still stands, the official said: I understand the significance of the Singapore agreement, and we will have more to say in the next few days.
The three officials are also expected to discuss a global shortage of semiconductor chips that has forced U.S. automakers and other manufacturers to cut production.
The shortage stems from a confluence of factors as carmakers, which closed plants during the COVID 19 pandemic last year, compete with the sprawling consumer electronics industry for chip supplies.
It would be fair to say that our three countries hold many keys to the future of Semiconductors manufacturing technology and we will strive to affirm the importance of keeping these sensitive supply chains secure, the official said.