• The Financial District


US President-elect Joe Biden's pick for secretary of state will likely seek to improve South Korea's relations with Japan as he pushes for multilateral efforts to denuclearize North Korea, US experts said, Byun Duk-kun reported for Yonhap news agency.

The US president-elect selected Antony Blinken, former deputy secretary of state, to be the first Cabinet member of the Biden administration, set to be inaugurated on Jan. 20. While experts in Seoul noted the 58-year-old nominee will be open to dialogue with North Korea, he will likely prefer a more silenced and disciplined approach than President Donald Trump in dealing with US allies and adversaries.

"Blinken will place his emphasis on revitalizing US alliances and he won't kowtow to Kim Jong-un as Trump did -- or put the US and North Korea on the brink of war as Trump also did in 2017," said Sue Mi Terry, a former CIA analyst who currently works for the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Trump has held three meetings with North Korea's Kim, but US-North Korea denuclearization talks have stalled since the second Trump-Kim summit, held in Hanoi in February 2019, ended without a deal. Biden remains critical of the Trump-Kim meetings, insisting they have only given the North Korean dictator what he had long desired -- global recognition as the leader of a nuclear-armed state. The president-elect says he too may be willing to meet with Kim, but only if it will lead to a reduction of Pyongyang’s nuclear arsenal.

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