North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, concerned with his country’s food problems, sent somewhat of a mixed message regarding his relationship with the U.S.
Comments from Kim, made at a meeting of senior leaders this week in the capital of Pyongyang, involve dealings with President Joe Biden and the United States, highlighted by his country strategizing “to get fully prepared for confrontation.”
The North Korea media outlet KCNA reported Kim saying his country needed that preparation to “protect the dignity of our state and its interests for independent development.”
But analysts in Seoul told ABC News that Kim may be interested in restarting a discussion with the U.S., due in part to his country’s financial woes.
“It looks like North Korea chose to take a very flexible and practical approach to nuclear negotiations,” said Cheong Seong-Chang, the director of the Center for North Korean Studies of The Sejong Institute.
The U.S. has repeatedly called for North Korea to dismantle and cease operations of its nuclear program, which has been ignored and criticized, resulting in severe economic sanctions from the United Nations Security Council.
Kim’s relationship with Biden’s administration is not currently a friendly one.
Biden has kept up the pressure on Kim, and North Korea has said that Washington continues to “keep enforcing the hostile policy” toward the country.
But while Kim’s message indicates the possibility that he would consider re-entering discussions, Kim has shown no willingness to scale back his ongoing nuclear program.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the U.S. would aim for a “calibrated practical approach that is open to and will explore diplomacy with” North Korea, with the goal of “practical progress.”