Biden’s North Korea Plan Owes a Lot to Trump

There’s no easy road map for getting Kim Jong Un to a nuclear deal. Joe Biden might as well use Donald Trump’s.

That’s what South Korean President Moon Jae-in hopes to convince Biden at a White House summit Friday to do, as Jon Herskovitz, Justin Sink and Jennifer Jacobs report.

Moon has spent his political career seeking an “irreversible peace” with his northern rival and is in danger of watching it slip away in the final year of his presidency. He wants Biden to endorse the bare-bones “Singapore declaration” that Trump signed during his unprecedented meeting with Kim three years ago.

In it, Kim merely restated his longstanding policy by agreeing to “work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.” So far he has taken no concrete steps toward scaling back his atomic arsenal.

In fact, he’s accelerated weapons development, rolling out a new missile in October believed capable of carrying multiple nuclear warheads to all of continental U.S.

But the Singapore deal is the only one Biden has.

And there are signs the administration appears ready to concede that, as it continues to keep details of its new North Korean strategy close.

A senior U.S. official told reporters yesterday the president was looking to build on agreements made by the previous administration, including the Singapore statement.

That’s unlikely to be enough to restart talks. Kim remains bitter, burdened by United Nations sanctions and cloistered behind the borders of his isolated nation.

North Korea last year blew up a liaison office funded by Moon’s government and earlier this month accused Biden’s administration of girding for an “all-out showdown.”

The words were a warning that Kim could at any time return to North Korea’s preferred method of negotiation: weapons tests. — Brendan Scott

Views of the Korean Border Following Destruction of Joint Korea Office in Rebuke to Seoul

South Korean soldiers at a military check point near the Demilitarized Zone in Paju in June 2020. 

Photographer: SeongJoon Cho/Bloomberg

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