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Jon Greenberg
By Jon Greenberg December 9, 2021

No action yet on North Korea

As a presidential candidate, Joe Biden said he would "jump start" a coordinated campaign with allies and China toward denuclearization in North Korea.

So far, the campaign has been more like a stroll than a leap forward.

There have been periodic meetings involving U.S., Japanese and South Korean diplomats. The most recent took place in late October. But these talks have produced no major announcements. Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping brought up North Korea when they spoke in November, and nothing specific emerged.

Bonnie Jenkins, U.S. undersecretary for arms control, said at a September NATO meeting that the U.S. is "taking a practical approach that is open to diplomacy with North Korea," and meanwhile, U.S. sanctions will continue.

Shortly after that meeting, North Korea tested two ballistic missiles, launching them into international waters between Japan and the Korean Peninsula

The latest U.S. intelligence threat assessment said North Korean leader Kim Jong Un sees nuclear weapons as "the ultimate deterrent against foreign intervention."

"He probably does not view the current level of pressure on his regime as enough to require a fundamental change in its approach," the April report said.

With no specific progress in engaging North Korea's nuclear program, we rate this promise Stalled.


Our Sources

U.S. State Department, Under Secretary Bonnie Jenkins' Remarks: Nuclear Arms Control: A New Era?, Sept. 6, 2021

NPR, North Korea Fires 2 Ballistic Missiles Into Eastern Waters, Sept. 15, 2021

U.S. State Department, Press briefing, Sept. 15, 2021

Office of the Director of National Intelligence, 2021 annual threat assessment of the intelligence community, April 13, 2021

White House, Readout of President Biden's Virtual Meeting with President Xi Jinping of the People's Republic of China, Nov. 16, 2021

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