U.S. remains open to dialogue with N. Korea; White House

August 30, 2023

The United States remains open to dialogue with North Korea, a White House spokesperson said Tuesday, after North Korea’s reclusive leader called U.S. President Joe Biden and his South Korean, Japanese counterparts “gang bosses.”

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un accused Biden, South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida of driving the situation on the Korean Peninsula to the brink of a “nuclear war” during his recent visit to the North’s naval command.

“Obviously, we have said many times the lines of communication with the DPRK remain open,” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said when asked about Kim’s remarks in a daily press briefing.

“That is something that we are certainly open and willing to have,” added Jean-Pierre.

DPRK stands for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, North Korea’s official name.

Kim’s criticism of the leaders of South Korea, Japan and the U.S. follows the leaders’ historic trilateral summit held at Camp David on Aug. 18, in which they agreed to boost their countries’ trilateral cooperation in a wide range of areas, including security, economic and technology.

To this end, the countries have agreed to regularize their joint military exercises, and also start sharing real-time military information on North Korea’s missile launches before the year’s end.

“Recently, the gang bosses of the U.S., Japan and the “Republic of Korea” were closeted with each other, where they announced that they would conduct on a regular basis the tripartite joint military exercises under different code-names, and set about its implementation,” Kim said, according to a report by the North’s official Korean Central News Agency.

The White House spokesperson said she has yet to see the North Korean report when asked about Kim’s comments, adding, “I just don’t have anything to say specifically about those comments.”

Sabrina Singh, deputy spokesperson for the Department of Defense, said the U.S., Japan and South Korea will continue to enhance their trilateral defense cooperation, also noting the countries recently conducted a tripartite joint exercise.

“We just conducted a trilateral exercise that followed the historic Camp David summit. It brought together even closer the leaders the United States, Japan and the ROK,” she told a daily press briefing, referring to South Korea by its official name, the Republic of Korea.

“We are committed to peace and prosperity in the region and will continue to engage with our partners and allies in the region,” she added.

The Pentagon spokesperson also noted that the U.S. and its allies are closely monitoring North Korea for additional provocations following its two failed launches of a claimed military satellite on May 31 and on Thursday (Korea time).

“We continue to monitor the actions that the DPRK takes whenever it comes to a missile or space launch or missile launch like this one,” she said when asked about last week’s satellite launch.

“We are aware that the DPRK is using ballistic missile technology, which is a violation of multiple U.N. Security resolutions. The behavior that we have seen continues to destabilize and undermine security in the region,’ she added.