US State Department to stress being on “same page” with S. Korea, other allies on N. Korea policy

Posted on : 2021-02-11 15:38 KST Modified on : 2021-02-11 15:38 KST
Spokesperson Ned Price says US is “more concerned with prospect of not coordinating closely” with allies than with Pyongyang’s bids for attention
US State Department spokesperson Ned Price fields questions from reporters at the department’s building in Washington on Feb. 9. (Reuters/Yonhap News)
US State Department spokesperson Ned Price fields questions from reporters at the department’s building in Washington on Feb. 9. (Reuters/Yonhap News)

The administration of US President Joe Biden reiterated the importance of staying on the “same page” with South Korea and other allies when formulating North Korea policy.

During a Feb. 9 press briefing, US State Department spokesperson Ned Price was asked whether the Biden administration was “concerned at all that a delay of engaging with the North Koreans could result in them doing something to get the United States’ attention [such as] testing a nuclear weapon or launching a [missile] delivery system.”

In his reply, Price said, “I think we would be more concerned with the prospect of not closely coordinating with our partners — in this instance, of course, the Republic of Korea and Japan.”

“[W]hether it’s North Korea, whether it’s Iran, whether it is any other global challenge: In the first instance, we want to make sure we are on precisely the same page to make sure our allies and partners know that we are there for them, that we have their back, that we are on this diplomatic endeavor together,” he continued.

Price’s remarks were taken to mean that Washington is making a priority of close discussions with Seoul and Tokyo to establish consistent North Korean policies rather than rushing into action. In a telephone conversation with South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Feb. 3, Biden also expressed praise for South Korea’s efforts as “one of the chief parties in resolving Korean Peninsula issues” and indicated plans to “cooperate closely toward common aims” while stressing the importance of the two sides being on “the same page,” the Blue House reported.

In response to a question about whether the US government had made progress with its “new approach” toward Pyongyang, Price said, “[W]e will adopt a new approach that keeps the American people and our allies safe, and that will begin through a policy review of the state of play in North Korea.”

“And we’re going to do that in close consultation and coordination with the Republic of Korea, with Japan, with other allies and partners,” he continued.

“Our focus in formulating this new policy and approach and undertaking these consultations will be on reducing the threat to the United States and our allies, as well as improving the lives of the North [and] the South Korean people,” he said.

“[A]t the core, we do remain committed to the denuclearization of North Korea,” he added.

By Hwang Joon-bum, staff reporter (Washington)

Please direct comments or questions to [english@hani.co.kr]

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