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US continues North Korea policy review, attempts to establish contact futile — official

Washington plans to complete the review "in the coming weeks"

WASHINGTON, March 14. /TASS/. The US authorities continue the review of their North Korean policy, while Washington’s attempts to establish contact with Pyongyang in order to prevent escalation have so far been unsuccessful, a senior administration official told TASS on Saturday.

"To reduce the risks of escalation, we reached out to the North Korean government through several channels starting in mid-February, including in New York. To date, we have not received any response from Pyongyang," the official said, adding that "this follows over a year without active dialogue with North Korea, despite multiple attempts by the U.S. to engage."

Washington plans to complete the above-mentioned policy review "in the coming weeks." As part of the process, the US government aims to evaluate "all available options to address the increasing threat posed by North Korea to its neighbors and the broader international community."

"We are continuing to lead a structured and detailed policy process that has integrated a diverse set of voices from throughout the government and incorporated inputs from think tanks and outside experts," the official said. "We have consulted with many former government officials involved in North Korea policy, including several from the previous administration. Throughout the review process, we have and will continue to engage with our Japanese and South Korean allies <…>. We have listened carefully to their ideas, including through trilateral consultations."

Earlier, the new US administration de-facto signaled that it had no plans to rely on a direct bilateral dialogue with North Korea for denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. The White House said in January that the current US administration led by President Joe Biden plans to prepare a new North Korea strategy and that its policy would include deterrence of Pyongyang.

The previous US president, Donald Trump, made an unprecedented denuclearization effort, including personal contacts with the North Korean leadership. The first-ever US-North Korea summit took place in Singapore on June 12, 2018, when US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un signed a joint declaration. Pyongyang undertook certain denuclearization commitments in exchange for security guarantees from Washington.

Another US-North Korean summit in Hanoi in February 2019 turned futile. The two leaders had a brief meeting in Panmunjeom, a village on the border between two Koreas, on June 30, 2019 and agreed to resume working-level consultations on denuclearization. Under this agreement, US and North Korean delegations met in Stockholm on October 5 to discuss ways to normalize bilateral relations. However they failed to establish dialogue.