/ 17 March 2021

“Don’t cause a stink”

That’s what the sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said to the Biden administration days out from a visit to the region by US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin. Kim Yo Jong’s full quote is “If it wants to sleep in peace for the coming 4 years, it had better refrain from causing a stink at its first step.” A glass-half-full interpretation is that it’s sorta kinda the first time the Hermit Kingdom has publicly acknowledged that America has new leadership. And glass-half-empty: American officials have been trying for weeks to make diplomatic contact with Kim, and that’s where they’ve landed… Getting Team Kim’s goat is upcoming US-South Korean military exercises – a perennial source of tension. Biden’s team is also undertaking a policy review of America’s approach to dealing with North Korea post-Trump. That’s expected to conclude next month.

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