- The Washington Times
Saturday, May 21, 2022

President Biden on Saturday said he is open to meeting with Kim Jong Un on the condition that the North Korean leader is “serious” about curbing its weapons programs.

Mr. Biden and South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol said in a joint statement Saturday that “the [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s] nuclear program presents a grave threat not only to peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula but also the rest of Asia and the world,” and called on North Korea to abandon its weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs.

Mr. Biden met with Mr. Yoon earlier Saturday while on his first trip to Asia since taking office.

Both leaders called on North Korea to abandon its weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs, and emphasized that the path to dialogue remains open “toward a peaceful and diplomatic resolution.”

Mr. Biden attached conditions to the offer during a press conference later Saturday.

“It would depend on whether he was sincere and whether it was serious,” Mr. Biden said.

Relations between the U.S. and North Korea have become strained by North Korea’s increasingly provocative missile tests.

Earlier this month, North Korea completed its first test of an intercontinental ballistic missile since 2017. The country has not staged a nuclear test since the same year.

White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said on Wednesday that U.S. intelligence estimates there is a “genuine possibility” that North Korea will conduct a long-range missile test or nuclear test during Mr. Biden’s five-day trip to Asia, which includes visits to South Korea and Japan.

Mr. Sullivan said the administration is also prepared to make “both short- and longer-term adjustments” to U.S. military policy if Pyongyang continues a string of provocative weapons tests begun this year.

Mr. Yoon, who was just recently elected, has sought to normalize relations with North Korea while calling for Mr. Kim to denuclearize.

During their talks, Messrs. Biden and Yoon committed to closely cooperating to address the threats posed by North Korea.

• Joseph Clark can be reached at jclark@washingtontimes.com.

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