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Reading Between North Korean Lines with Dr. Go Myong-hyun: North Korea Experts on Biden's Foreign Policy Team Updated: 2021-01-28 16:02:17 KST

One week into the Biden administration, we're beginning to see his foreign policy team take clearer shape at least one that will deal with the Asia Pacific region and most likely North Korea, as well.
Its latest appointment: Jung Pak, former CIA official who has authored several books and articles on the North Korea including a recent profile on the North Korean leader and his close circle called "Becoming Kim Jong Un" has been tapped to work as a top foreign policy aide for the Biden administration.

Do we see the Biden team's North Korea policy direction here and should we be weary about the unusual sense of quiet from the Kim regime as of late?

Let's go in-depth on Reading Between North Korean Lines with Dr. Go Myong-hyun.

Hello Dr. Go.

Jung Pak announced her new role as the U.S. State Department’s deputy assistant secretary for East Asian and Pacific affairs. She'll be working with Sung Kim on U.S. relations with North Korea.
What's your interpretation of this appointment?

Over the last four years, Pak has been a vocal critic of President Donald Trump's North Korea policy. In fact, she previously told The Washington Post that the 2018 Singapore joint statement declaration between Trump and Kim "laid a very shaky foundation on which to build any substantive working level negotiations."
While her post is the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia and she cannot possibly make all the decision on the Korean peninsula, how do you see the foreign policy slash national security team in Washington led by Tony Blinken, Kurt Campbell, Jake Sullivan to Sung Kim and now Jung Pak working together and coordinating with the team in Seoul led by Chung Eui-yong, Suh Hoon on North Korea?

We're at the end of January now There's President Biden's State of the Union address in February And the South Korea-U.S. joint military exercises in March
North Korea has been surprisingly quiet as of late.
Analysts have suggested that we may see provocation from the North in the spring.
What do we expect from North Korea? What's running through the mind of Kim Jong-un and his aides as they watch te developments in Washington?

There are experts who argue that the Biden administration should begin working on North Korea policy on the premise that there will not be CVID. In other words, come up with a better model.
Do you agree with that? Will North Korea ever denuclearize?

Let's talk about China. After making several friendly gestures towards North Korea in recent months, Chinese President Xi Jinping made it clear that he supports inter-Korean dialogue, a "political resolution" and according to Seoul's top office, that denuclearization corresponds with the interests of both South Korea and China. This during a 40 minute phone conversation between Presidents Moon and Xi.
What do you make out of this move, gesture, messaging by China?

Hours later, U.S. President Joe Biden held his first phone talks with Japanse Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga as the new president. According to the White House readout, the two affirmed the necessity of complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and President Biden vowed to strengthen Washington's alliance with Tokyo to counter growing Chinese military activity in the volatile Asia-Pacific region. Do you think the Biden administration will strenghten security arrangements in the region in clear contrast with the approach taken by Donald Trump?
President Trump, of course, publicly mulled withdrawing troops from key U.S. allies - South Korea and Japan.

How do you see the regional security architecture evolving in the Asia Pacific?

Go Myong-hyun, our very own senior North Korea analyst, many thanks as always your insights and expertise. We appreciate it.
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