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U.S. anxious to enhance partnership with Japan, ROK to deal with North Korea

All national dailies reported that National Security Advisor Sullivan plans to host his Japanese and South Korean counterparts in Washington next week for bilateral and trilateral talks as part of the Biden administration’s efforts to formulate North Korea policy. Nikkei noted that Sullivan’s plan to meet with National Security Secretariat Secretary General Kitamura and Office of National Security Director Suh Hoon in person despite the coronavirus pandemic shows that the U.S. administration attaches importance to rebuilding alliances.

 

The papers conjectured that Washington downplayed the Kim regime’s firing of short-range missiles into the Yellow Sea on March 21, the first launch since President Biden took office in late January, because it is looking to reopen dialogue with Pyongyang. The President and other senior USG officials chose to not call it a “provocation” even though the projectiles were fired immediately after the U.S. and South Korean militaries completed a bilateral exercise and Secretary of State Blinken and Secretary of Defense Austin wrapped up their visit to Japan and South Korea. The papers speculated that Washington does not wish to escalate the tension on the Korean Peninsula at the moment as the administration is in the “final stages” of a full review of its approach toward the DPRK regime with the goal of realizing North Korea’s complete denuclearization. Mainichi quoted an unnamed senior U.S. administration official as saying that strong partnership with Japan and South Korea serves U.S. national security interests.

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