President Joe Biden said Thursday he has been in consultation with allies and partners following two missile tests by North Korea, the most recent testing intermediate ballistic missiles in violation of a United Nations resolution.
Until just days ago, North Korea had refrained from missile tests in the first two months of the Biden administration, but also ignored overtures to hold diplomatic meetings. Former President Donald Trump began his presidency by matching the fiery rhetoric of North Korea’s Kim Jong un, but then turned to direct diplomacy with the leader, meeting him for two summits and even crossing the demilitarized zone together for a photo op.
The latest provocations by the North comes before Biden’s team has completed a policy review, but after both Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Secretary of State Antony Blinken made visits to Japan and South Korea last week, and Biden approved the resumption of military exercises between the U.S. and South Korea.
“We’re consulting with our allies and partners,” Biden said in his first news conference as president. “There will be responses if they choose to escalate. We will respond accordingly.”
Biden said he was also preparing for “some form of diplomacy,” but that such diplomacy be conditioned “the end result of de-nuclearization.”
“That’s what we’re doing right now, consulting with our allies,” Biden repeated before answering that he agreed with the position of President Obama that North Korea was the single most dangerous security challenge he faced.