North Korea to welcome new U.S. president with missile launches

North Korea to welcome new U.S. president with missile launches

North Korea may test intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) in the first months of the new US administration under Joe Biden. That is the prediction shared by a South Korean think tank.

It is noted that in the past Pyongyang has already greeted the change in the U.S. leadership with military provocations to test the reaction of Washington and attract the attention of the new administration. In addition, according to experts at the Asan Institute for Policy Studies, Biden’s announced plans for diplomatic engagement with the DPRK signal a 180-degree U-turn from Trump’s approach. The new U.S. president is expected to build a bottom-up relationship with Pyongyang, favoring working-level meetings over bilateral summits as his predecessor did.

All of this could once again stall negotiations on the nuclear issue, the think tank noted. “The DPRK may therefore decide to launch ICBMs in a desperate attempt to break an impasse in negotiations that could become even more serious than it has been under the Trump administration,” the institute’s report said.

Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un first met in 2018 in Singapore. At that time, the two leaders signed an agreement under which Pyongyang expressed its willingness to give up its nuclear weapons. Their second summit in early 2019 in Vietnam was interrupted. The U.S. president and the DPRK leader met again in June of that year in the demilitarized zone separating North and South Korea and agreed to resume talks. In October, however, talks between the two sides stalled.

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