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Biden's new point man on North Korea offering nothing to ease standoff

Frank Smith
Press TV, Seoul


The US special envoy for North Korea, who visited South Korea, has said that he would meet with Pyongyang representatives “anytime, anywhere and without preconditions,” but has apparently failed to offer anything that would ease the current standoff.

President Joe Biden’s new point man on North Korea, however, conditioned any negotiations on US sanctions against North Korea remaining in place, which many see as a barrier to kickstarting broader denuclearization talks.

Some activists believe that the ongoing tensions, in fact, provide the US with an excuse to deploy troops to the region and support American weapons producers.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un last week told officials at a party meeting to be prepared for both dialogue and confrontation. Pyongyang later ridiculed Washington’s offer of talks, suggesting that a wrong interpretation would lead to disappointment.

The US may now be paying more attention to North Korea with the appointment of a special envoy and his five-day visit here to the southern neighbor. The question is whether that will translate into greater flexibility in terms of sanctions relief, as Pyongyang is dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic and recent natural disasters. 

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