The place to start is by noting that Biden's people have started repeating a Trump-era formulation: "The denuclearization of North Korea." I've seen in the #Quad statement, as well as the bilat with Japan. The Biden-Harris Administration is working to strengthen AmeWe reaffirm our commitment to the complete denuclearization
Here is the problem with this phrase. What Kim said was "denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula." Same phrase used since Kim Il Sung and what it means is that the US needs to stop threatening North Korea with nuclear weapons, not that he will disarm.…
You can get a sense of this from Jimmy Carter's readout of his 1994 meeting with Kim Il Sung when Kim talks about the "denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula." He's talking about reducing the US nuclear threat, not disarming himself.
That's why North Korea only commits to the "denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula" on a bilateral basis with South Korea (most recently at Panmunjom in 2018). In Singapore, Kim just reaffirmed the prior commitment he made to Moon. Read it yourself.…
What "denuclearization" means is that North Korea feels threatened by US extended nuclear deterrence to South Korea and that its nuclear ambitions can only be understood in that context. It's not an offer to disarm, it is at best an invitation to discuss tension reduction.
Undeterred, Mike Pompeo and other Trumpkins just changed Kim's words to suit themselves, referring to the "denuclearization of North Korea as agreed by Chairman Kim in Singapore" -- even though that is not what Kim agreed, the statement was public and we can read.
This really pissed off the North Koreans. At one point they released statement in Korean suggesting Pompeo take a geography lesson.
"미국은 이제라도 조선반도비핵화라는 용어의 뜻을 정확히 인식해야 하며 특히 지리공부부터 바로해야 한다."…
The North Koreans really hate it when the US deliberately misconstrues North Korea's call for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula as a unilateral offer to disarm. And that's what Biden's people are doing now. It's no surprise the North Koreans won't talk to them.
What is worse is that the Biden people are now making this public, washing their hands of the situation. The Biden people appear to be focused on shifting blame rather than figuring out what went wrong with their approach. It's not a great sign.
Psaki implicitly admitted it when she said, "We also are focused on consulting with many former government officials who have been involved in North Korea policy, including from several prior administrations. ... We’ve listened carefully to their ideas.”…
Government officials don't meet with outsiders to get new ideas. They just don't. They meet with outsiders to encourage them to defend the Administration publicly. This is about damage control.…
And former officials are likely to oblige. Why? Because they also own, in part, our decades of failed efforts to effectively deal with North Korea's growing nuclear force. They have a vested interest in using Biden's failures to justify their own.
The purpose of meeting with former officials is probably to persuade them to say "It was all the North Koreans fault when I failed. And it is all North Korea's fault now that Biden has failed." If I am right, we'll see former officials rising to Biden's defense in no time.
TL,DR: The Biden people made an unforced error in their approach to North Korea and are now trying to shift the blame rather than fix the problem.
A clarification: I don’t mean that word choice on two occasions is the sole problem. I mean that the word choice reflects the Biden teams failure to grasp what the North Koreans are seeking and it’s no surprise that an approach insisting on disarmament went nowhere.

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