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What next for North Korea? Kim Jong-un set to be an early foreign policy headache for Joe Biden

Advice, not instinct, will govern US president-elect Joe Biden’s policy towards North Korea, but a change in emphasis won’t mean fewer problems, reports Donald Kirk in Seoul

Monday 09 November 2020 14:18 GMT
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People watch a television news showing a file footage of a meeting between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un
People watch a television news showing a file footage of a meeting between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (AFP via Getty Images)

The rise of president-elect Joe Biden comes at the worst moment for North Korea’s Kim Jong-un as he battles increasing hunger and poverty among his own people, as well as allegations that he refuses to acknowledge a Covid-19 pandemic in his country.

“It means he’s never going to hold another fruitless summit again," said Shim Jae-hoon, an analyst at Yale Global.

To the dismay of Kim, as he contemplates whether to greet Mr Biden’s victory with another fusillade of missile launches, the president-in-waiting is expected to look for advice not to his gut instincts – as Trump did – but to advisers who are likely to urge a go-slow approach while demanding that Kim begin to dismantle his nuclear programme.

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