North Korea conceded Thursday that the US had attempted to establish contact between the two governments. The Biden administration sent emails and tried several ways to deliver telephone messages, even involving a third country. But the Americans' effort was nothing but a "cheap trick," a foreign ministry official said, to buy time while the US tried to sway public opinion. "What has been heard from the US since the emergence of the new regime is only lunatic theory of 'threat from North Korea' and groundless rhetoric about "complete denuclearization,'" Choe Son Hui said. She also criticized the US for keeping sanctions against her country, Reuters reports, and for conducting military drills with South Korea.
"We don’t think there is need to respond to the US delaying-time trick again," Choe said in a statement, per the AP. "We have already declared our stand that no US contact and dialogue of any kind can be possible unless the US rolls back its hostile policy toward" North Korea. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin are in South Korea, where Blinken told Foreign Minister Chung Eui-yong the US will work with his nation and other allies to get North Korea to denuclearize. It's the first time the US secretaries of state and defense have met with their South Korean equivalents in five years. Blinken and Austin had similar talks in Japan before traveling to Seoul. (More North Korea stories.)