President Biden may soon be forced to take action amid threats from an increasingly aggressive North Korea, which has flexed its military might in recent days with provocative missile launches.
Biden, who has taken a more subdued approach to Pyongyang compared to his predecessor, former President Trump, has long called for open dialogue over a host of issues between the two nations without preconditions.
Experts say the Biden administration's focus on North Korea has dropped on its list of international priorities. Other challenges, like Russia’s military buildup on its border with Ukraine, reviving the nuclear deal with Iran and the fallout over the U.S.’s violent exit from Afghanistan, have required more immediate attention.
“The desire to start a new diplomatic campaign to engage North Korea beyond what has already been on the table — that North Korea has not picked up — the appetite for that is pretty low,” said Jacob Stokes, a Fellow in the Indo-Pacific Security Program at the Center for a New American Security.
“Ultimately, because there’s a number of other things going on.”
Stokes said that the Biden administration's strategy towards North Korea is seeking to strike a balance between that of the Obama administration – dubbed “strategic patience,” withholding high level engagement until Pyongyang changes its behavior – and that of the Trump administration. Trump held two unsuccessful face-to-face meetings with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
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