Donald Trump and North Korea's rulers have met several times in recent years, and the current US President considers a meeting with Kim Jong Un to be possible, but only under certain conditions. The increased military cooperation with South Korea is unlikely to be beneficial.
Because of the threat posed by North Korea's missile and nuclear program, the US and South Korea want to "expand the scope and scope" of their joint military maneuvers. US President Joe Biden and South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol said they agreed to start talks. This also applies to military training and further education. "We will intensify our maneuvers," Yoon said at a joint press conference after the consultations with Biden, according to the translation.
The announcement is likely to be a provocation for North Korea's dictator Kim Jong Un. Pyongyang accuses the two states of preparing an attack through their military maneuvers in South Korea or on the high seas around the Korean peninsula. The United States and South Korea dispute this. They, in turn, see Pyongyang's missile and nuclear weapons program as a major threat. The maneuvers are considered important so that the armed forces of the two countries can work together as smoothly as possible in an emergency. Biden has assured Yoon that the US remains committed to deploying the "full range" of its military capabilities to defend South Korea, including nuclear weapons, conventional weapons and missile defense systems, if necessary.
The intention behind this strategy of extended deterrence is to deter potential adversaries - in this case North Korea - from attacking. A good 28,000 US soldiers are stationed in South Korea. In view of the conflict over the nuclear program, Biden did not fundamentally rule out a meeting with the North Korean dictator. That would depend on Kim being "honest" and "serious," Biden said when asked by a journalist if Biden was willing to meet Kim with no preconditions. The goal is still "the complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula," emphasized Biden at the press conference.
Instead of "nuclear disarmament," the United States and South and North Korea are talking about "denuclearization." This is a deliberately chosen, vague term that gives diplomats leeway in negotiations. Biden's predecessor, Donald Trump, met with Kim three times between June 2018 and June 2019 to persuade North Korea to disarm. Ultimately, the negotiations failed. According to experts, Pyongyang is pushing ahead with its missile and weapons programs. North Korea has tested missiles capable of carrying a nuclear warhead several times this year. South Korea and the US also fear that Pyongyang could conduct a new missile or even nuclear weapons test around Biden's Asia trip. North Korea last tested a nuclear weapon in September 2017.
As one of the last countries in the world, North Korea, which is largely isolated internationally, officially confirmed last week that there was a corona outbreak. Biden said the US could quickly deliver vaccines to North Korea. "We are ready to do that immediately." The US has already offered help, but North Korea has not responded, Biden said. The state-controlled media in North Korea, meanwhile, reported that the "spread of the vicious epidemic" was now slowed down and under control. The information could not be independently verified.
Biden is on a three-day state visit to South Korea as part of his first trip to Asia as President. Biden sees the alliance with South Korea as a "linchpin for peace, stability and prosperity" in the region. He and Yoon reaffirmed plans to further expand economic ties as well. Biden will continue to travel to Japan for talks this Sunday. In addition to bilateral talks with Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, a joint summit meeting with the heads of government from India and Australia is also on the agenda in Tokyo. At the so-called Quad Summit, the focus should be on striving for a free and open Indo-Pacific. The United States and its democratic allies also want to use the alliance to counter the Chinese communist leadership's drive for power in the region.