President Biden will meet face to face Friday with South Korean President Moon Jae-in for high-profile talks, a press conference and even a medal ceremony.
No one should expect a repeat — either here or abroad — with North Korean counterpart and dictator Kim Jong-un, the White House said Thursday.
“I don’t expect that will be at the top of his agenda,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said of a possible Biden-Kim meeting.
Mr. Moon hopes his White House summit will kick-start denuclearization talks on the Korean peninsula. The South Korean president staked a large part of his legacy on achieving peace.
Love letters and a pair of in-person summits between former President Donald Trump and Mr. Kim failed to produce the breakthrough Mr. Moon had hoped for, so the Biden administration is trying to thread the needle between the past two administrations’ strategies.
The Obama administration took a more aloof approach during Mr. Biden‘s time as vice president, hoping North Korea would change its belligerent behavior before engaging on a diplomatic level.
“Our policy will not focus on achieving a grand bargain, nor will it rely on strategic patience,” Ms. Psaki told reporters in late April. “Our policy calls for a calibrated, practical approach that is open to and will explore diplomacy with [North Korea] and to make practical progress that increases the security of the United States, our allies and deployed forces.”
Just don’t expect Mr. Biden and Mr. Kim to become pen pals or shake hands anytime soon.