US President Joe Biden and South Korean President Moon Jae-in have expressed a desire to engage North Korea in diplomacy in trying to reduce tensions over Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs.
“We both are deeply concerned about the situation,” Biden said at the start of a joint news conference on Friday with Moon, the second foreign leader to visit the White House since Mr Biden took office.
Mr Biden said the two countries would have a “shared approach” to North Korea and he and Moon shared a willingness to engage diplomatically with the North “to take pragmatic steps to reduce tensions”.
Mr Biden said a State Department official, Sung Kim, would serve as a special US envoy for North Korea. Moon said the envoy would help explore whether North Korea is willing to engage diplomatically and he hoped for a positive response from Pyongyang.
North Korea thus far has rebuffed US entreaties for diplomacy since Biden took over from then-president Donald Trump, who held three summits with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
Moon welcomed what he called Biden’s realistic, pragmatic approach to North Korea and called denuclearisation a top priority.