White House not aiming for 'grand bargain' with North Korea

Joe Biden

In a separate statement, Kwon Jong Gun, director general of the Department of US Affairs of the Foreign Ministry, cited Biden's first policy speech to Congress on Wednesday, where the new president said nuclear programs in North Korea and Iran posed threats that would be addressed through "diplomacy and stern deterrence".

The White House did not say whether it will offer concessions to get North Korea to return to talks.

The announcement, which comes 100 days into the Biden presidency, touches on one of the most anticipated elements of the new USA leader's foreign policy for America's East Asian allies.

President Joe Biden is open to diplomatic negotiations with North Korea on denuclearization, the White House said Friday after completion of a review by the new administration of United States policy. "Now that the keynote of the USA new DPRK policy has become clear, we will be compelled to press for corresponding measures, and with time the USA will find itself in a very grave situation".

White House press secretary Jen Psaki suggested the administration would seek a middle ground between Trump's "grand bargain" and Obama's "strategic patience" approaches.

A handout photo provided by Dong-A Ilbo of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump inside the demilitarized zone (DMZ) separating the South and North Korea on June 30, 2019 in Panmunjom, South Korea.

The law has raised concerns over freedom of speech, with the United States - a treaty ally of the South - describing it as a "significant human rights issue" in an annual report in March.

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The New Delhi Television channel later cited the hospital chairman as saying the deaths can not be ascribed to a lack of oxygen. The government has deployed military planes and trains to get oxygen from the far corners of the country to Delhi.

In January, Kim threatened to enlarge his nuclear arsenal and build more high-tech weapons targeting the USA mainland, saying the fate of bilateral ties would depend on whether it abandons its hostile policy.

The White House says President Joe Biden plans to veer from the approaches of his two most recent predecessors as he tries to stop North Korea's nuclear programme.

An activist group in South Korea said on Friday it had released balloons into North Korea carrying dollar bills and leaflets denouncing the government in Pyongyang, defying a recently imposed law banning such releases after complaints by the North.

Republican Trump held three summit meetings with top DPRK leader Kim Jong Un but achieved no breakthrough other than a pause in nuclear and intercontinental ballistic missile tests that has lasted since 2017.

"Though (authorities) can handcuff and put me to a prison cell, they cannot stop (my leafleting) with whatever threats or violence as long as the North Korean people waits for the letters of freedom, truth and hopes", said Park, a North Korean defector known for years of leafleting campaigns.

Mr Biden called Mr Kim "a thug" during his election campaign and said North Korean nuclear disarmament had to happen before the crippling economic sanctions imposed by the United States and the UN could be relaxed.

On May 21 Biden is due to have his first meeting with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who has pushed for more engagement with North Korea.

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