UNITED STATES: After a senior US official in charge of nuclear policy raised some eyebrows by stating that Washington would be willing to engage in arms-control negotiations with Pyongyang, the country said on Friday that its stance towards North Korea had not changed.
Some experts contend that in order to have these discussions, North Korea must be acknowledged as a nuclear-armed state, which Pyongyang wants. Washington, though, has long maintained that North Korea’s nuclear program is unconstitutional and subject to UN penalties.
At a Washington nuclear conference on Thursday, Bonnie Jenkins, the undersecretary of state for arms control, was questioned about when North Korea should be considered an issue for arms control.
In light of the upcoming midterm elections early next month, the Biden administration is worried that North Korea may be poised to begin nuclear bomb testing for the first time since 2017. This would be extremely undesirable. United States requests for North Korea to resume negotiations were denied.
The State Department’s spokesman, Ned Price, responded to Jenkins’ comment as follows, “I want to be crystal clear on this. The United States’ policy has not changed.”
Bonnie Jenkins, the State Department’s assistant secretary for arms control, was questioned on Thursday at a nuclear policy conference in Washington about a statement Alexandra Bell made on Friday at the same conference, in which Bell emphasised that there had been no change in the United States policy.
According to Daniel Russel, the senior US envoy for East Asia under former President Barack Obama and currently at the Asia Society, Jenkins had “fallen directly into Kim Jong Un’s trap” with her remarks.
Executive director of the United States-based Arms Control Association Daryl Kimball stated that she was not announcing that North Korea is a nuclear weapons state as defined by the international Non-Proliferation Treaty.
Kimball and Toby Dalton, a nuclear expert at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, which convened the nuclear conference, claimed that formal recognition as a nuclear-armed state was not required for arms-control negotiations.
Jenkins appeared to be basically restating the United States position that it was open to speaking with Pyongyang without restrictions, according to Dalton.
Also Read: North Korea Claims It Tested Two Nuclear-capable Cruise Missiles