CNN reports that Kim Yo-jong, sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, has finally responded to the U.S. after outreach attempts kicked off in mid-February. “We take this opportunity to warn the new US administration trying hard to give off powder smell in our land,” said Yo-jonh in a statement. “If it wants to sleep in peace for [the] coming four years, it had better refrain from causing a stink at its first step.”
This is the first time Pyongyang has acknowledged President Biden in office, arriving just days after the U.S. and South Korea scaled down its simulated military exercises. U.S. Secretary of State Tony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin are expected to arrive in Seoul, South Korea to discuss “complete denuclearization of North Korea” with their respective Japanese and South Korean counterparts. On Tuesday, Blinken and Austin held meetings in Tokyo to discuss the issue, and to advance cooperation between America, Japan, and South Korea.
As reported last week by CNN, a senior Biden administration official said Pyongyang had failed to reply to diplomatic outreach efforts. “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,” the official said. “To date, we have not received any response from Pyongyang. This follows over a year without active dialogue with North Korea, despite multiple attempts by the US to engage.”
The U.S. has not made it clear if Pyongyang’s response will impact the North Korea policy review expected to be revealed in the coming weeks. Before taking office, Biden had described Kim Jong-un as a “thug” whom he would only meet “on the condition that he would agree that he would be drawing down his nuclear capacity.
Donald Trump famously attempted to get on good terms with Kim Jong-un in 2018, although their planned summit was canceled after North Korea threatened nuclear war. That didn’t stop Trump from suggesting that he personally deserved a Nobel Peace Prize for his talks with the leader.