This is Biden’s first trip to Asia as president.
On his first trip to Asia since taking office, President Joe Biden set the terms for a meeting with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un.
“As to whether I would meet the leader of North Korea, that would depend on his sincerity and seriousness,” Biden told reporters on Saturday during his appearance alongside South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol. during a press conference. .
Biden said on Saturday that the United States offered vaccines to North Korea without any preconditions but received no response. The coronavirus appears to be on the rise in North Korea, with 2.4 million people “sick with a fever” on Thursday.
“The answer is yes, we have offered vaccines, not only to North Korea, but also to China,” Biden said. “And we are ready to do so immediately. We have received no response.”
A White House spokesperson said the United States offered to supply the vaccines through existing programs like COVAX – a global initiative to supply COVID-19 vaccines – as recently as last week.
At the joint press conference in Seoul, Biden and Yoon discussed stepping up US support for South Korea in the face of North Korea’s aggression.
“Today, President Yoon and I pledged to strengthen our close engagement and work together to address regional security challenges, including countering the threat posed by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea by further strengthening our deterrence posture and working towards the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” Biden said.
The two leaders agreed to consider expanding combined military exercises and training on the Korean Peninsula.
Biden began his six-day trip to South Korea on Friday and will end the trip in Tokyo, Japan, where he will meet Japanese Emperor Naruhito and Prime Minister Kishida Fumio.
The White House said the trip comes at a pivotal time in Biden’s foreign policy agenda.
“The message we are trying to send on this trip is one of an affirmative vision of what the world could look like if the democracies and open societies of the world came together to shape the rules of the road, to define the region’s security architecture, to reinforce strong and powerful historic alliances,” National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan told reporters this week.