Biden Announces ‘New Phase’ In Iraq Relations, End Of ‘Combat Operations’

File photo: US President Joe Biden speaks on the American Jobs Plan, following a tour of Tidewater Community College in Norfolk, Virginia on May 3, 2021. MANDEL NGAN / AFP

 

President Joe Biden opened talks with Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhemi on Monday saying relations were in a “new phase” that would include the end of US combat operations in the country.

With Kadhemi at his side in the White House, Biden said that the US is “committed to our security cooperation” and will “to continue to train, to assist, to help, to deal with ISIS (Islamic State) as it arises.”

“But we’re not going to be, at the end of the year, in a combat mission,” he said.

Biden also stressed US support for elections in October in Iraq, saying Washington is working closely with Baghdad, the Gulf Cooperation Council and the United Nations to ensure the elections are fair.

Kadhemi said the US and Iraq have a “strategic partnership.”

“America, they help Iraq. Together we fight, fight and defeat ISIS,” he said.

“Today, our relation is stronger than ever — our partnership in the economy, the environment, health, education, culture and more.”

Biden is currently also overseeing the United States’ withdrawal from Afghanistan after 20 years of war, with the Taliban on the offensive amid fears they could even topple the Kabul government.

Political support 

Biden’s comments confirmed his readinesses to further limit US involvement in Iraq, but without removing the remaining 2,500 troops in the country, 18 years after the United States invaded to remove strongman Saddam Hussein.

The move could lend political support to Kadhemi, in power for little over a year and under pressure from Iran-allied political factions to push US troops from his country.

The two leaders’ meeting came after weeks of preparations which included discussions on support for fighting Covid-19, aiding the Iraqi private sector and cooperation on climate change.

Ahead of the meeting a senior US official who would not be identified praised Kadhemi for being pragmatic and “a problem solver rather than someone who tries to use problems for his own political interests.”

The main concern from Washington is to lend enough support to Iraqi security forces to keep up the fight against the remnants of the Islamic State group — while also keeping a damper on Iran’s influence in Iraq.

Since last year the principal role of the remaining US troops in Iraq has been to train, advise and support their Iraqi counterparts to battle Islamic State.

But Biden’s statement made clear that their involvement in actual fighting Islamic State would end.

“Iraq has requested, and we very much agree, that they need continued training, support with logistics, intelligence, advisory capacity building — all of which will continue,” the US official said.

READ ALSOFans Urged To Stay Away From Olympic Marathon Over COVID-19 Fears

October elections 

File photo: US President Joe Biden holds a press conference after the US-Russia summit in Geneva on June 16, 2021. (Photo by PETER KLAUNZER / POOL / AFP)

 

“We support strengthening Iraq’s democracy and we’re anxious to make sure the election goes forward in October,” he said.

In the vote Kadhemi is hoping to regain ground with powerful pro-Iran political factions, which are overtly hostile to the US presence.

He was expected to persuade Washington to ease some sanctions relating to Iran, to help Iraq honor crucial transactions with its neighbor and tackle power shortages.

Ramzy Mardini, an Iraq specialist at the University of Chicago’s Pearson Institute, said the meeting that it could be cosmetically “shaped” to help the Iraqi premier alleviate domestic pressures.

“But the reality on the ground will reflect the status quo and an enduring US presence.” said Mardini.

Remaining, however, has its risks.

“If there is no significant announcement on the withdrawal of troops, I fear that the pro-Iran groups may… increase attacks on the US forces,” Iraqi researcher Sajad Jiyad told AFP.

The Iraqi Resistance Coordination Committee, a group of militia factions, threatened to continue the attacks unless the United States withdraws all its forces and ends the “occupation.”

AFP

Biden Names Big Tech Critic To Head Anti-trust Unit

US President Joe Biden, with Attorney General Merrick Garland, speaks about gun violence prevention in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, DC, on April 8, 2021. Brendan SMIALOWSKI / AFP

 

President Joe Biden on Tuesday named a prominent Big Tech critic to head the Justice Department’s antitrust division in another sign of aggressive moves to counter the dominance of major Silicon Valley firms.

Jonathan Kanter, a lawyer who has represented firms challenging tech platforms, would if confirmed head up the division to handle an array of cases expected against the largest tech firms for alleged monopoly abuses.

The Kanter nomination follows the appointment Lina Khan, an advocate of breaking up the biggest tech firms, to head the Federal Trade Commission, which is also involved in antitrust enforcement.

A White House statement called Kanter “a leading advocate and expert in the effort to promote strong and meaningful antitrust enforcement and competition policy.”

Kanter has represented firms such as Yelp and Spotify which have claimed tech giants such as Google and Apple have used unfair practices to thwart competition. He also represented the News Media Alliance in claims that large platforms have stymied media firms.

A former FTC lawyer, he recently started his own “boutique antitrust law firm that advocates in favor of federal and state antitrust law enforcement,” according to the White House.

Early indications from the Biden administration suggest a ramped-up effort at antitrust enforcement, amid calls by some to break up some of the biggest and most successful Big Tech firms.

Biden earlier this month unveiled a wide-ranging plan aimed at tilting the balance of power away from corporations and towards “the little guy.”

Biden described the initiative as a shift from what he called Washington’s 40-year “experiment of letting giant corporations accumulate more and more power” as he signed an executive order directing changes on everything from the sale of hearing aids to the disclosure of airline baggage fees.

“We have to get back to an economy that grows from the bottom up,” he said.

The order, which drew strong praise from consumer advocates but a scathing response from some industry lobbying groups, outlines 72 initiatives across the federal government and announces the creation of the White House Competition Council to monitor progress.

Blinken Meets Pope As US Bishops Challenge Biden

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken (C) and Charge d'Affaires of the US Embassy to the Holy See Patrick Connell (L) and tour guide Alessandro Conforti (R), leave the Sistine Chapel, in the Apostolic Palace, at the Vatican, ahead of a meeting with Pope Francis and Archbishop Paul Gallagher, as part of a three-nation tour of Europe, on June 28, 2021. Andrew Harnik / POOL / AFP
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken (C) and Charge d’Affaires of the US Embassy to the Holy See Patrick Connell (L) and tour guide Alessandro Conforti (R), leave the Sistine Chapel, in the Apostolic Palace, at the Vatican, ahead of a meeting with Pope Francis and Archbishop Paul Gallagher, as part of a three-nation tour of Europe, on June 28, 2021. Andrew Harnik / POOL / AFP

 

Pope Francis on Monday met US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in the pontiff’s first face-to-face interaction with the new administration of President Joe Biden, who has been challenged by US bishops.

Blinken, on a tour of Europe, had a private audience with the Argentine pope after meeting with senior Vatican officials including Archbishop Paul Gallagher, who handles foreign relations.

Wearing a dark suit, Blinken was escorted through the Sistine Chapel as a guide gave him a description of each fresco, which he stopped to admire.

Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said the 40-minute meeting with the pope took place in a “friendly atmosphere”, adding that the pontiff recalled his 2015 trip to the United States and expressed “his affection and attention to the people of the United States”.

The trip by Blinken, a secular Jew, comes amid division within the Catholic Church in the United States over the positions of Biden, a devout Catholic who regularly attends Mass.

Biden says he personally opposes abortion but, like most of his Democratic Party, supports the right to choose abortion guaranteed in a 1973 Supreme Court decision that remains deeply divisive in US politics.

Earlier this month US bishops agreed to draft a statement that could potentially deny the holy communion — one of the most sacred rituals in the church — to any US leader who supports abortion rights.

The pope has previously spoken by telephone with Biden and shares some of the priorities of the new administration, including stepping up the fight against climate change and showing more compassion to refugees.

Francis, both the first Jesuit pope and the first pontiff from the Americas, had an uneven relationship with Donald Trump despite the previous president’s opposition to abortion.

He criticised Trump’s push to seal off Mexico with a wall. He declined last year to meet Blinken’s predecessor, Mike Pompeo, concerned about being seen as showing support close to an election, although he met earlier with Pompeo

 

AFP

US To Miss July 4 Goal Of One Covid Shot For 70% Adults: White House

FILE: US President Joe Biden holds a press conference after the US-Russia summit in Geneva on June 16, 2021. (Photo by PETER KLAUNZER / POOL / AFP)

 

The administration of President Joe Biden on Tuesday conceded it won’t meet its goal of administering one or more doses of a Covid vaccine to 70 percent of US adults by July 4.

“We think it’ll take a few extra weeks to get to 70 percent of all adults with at least one shot,” said Jeffrey Zients, head of the White House Covid response team.

As of Tuesday, 65.4 percent of over-18s had received one or more doses of the Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson shots.

But the vaccination rate has been declining since April when it hit a peak average of 3.4 million daily shots. The latest average is around 850,000 daily shots.

Adult vaccination rates vary greatly by state. The Northeast has some of the highest uptake, with Vermont leading the charge at 84 percent partially vaccinated and 75 percent fully vaccinated.

The bottom of the table is dominated by states in the South, with Mississippi covering just 45 percent of adults with one shot and 37 percent with two.

According to nationally representative surveys carried out by the Kaiser Family Foundation, unvaccinated adults are significantly younger, less educated, more likely to be Republicans, people of color and uninsured.

Despite missing the Independence Day goal, Zients said the administration had “succeeded beyond our highest expectations” in returning the nation to a pre-pandemic normal.

“Instead of just small backyard gatherings, America is getting ready for a truly historic Fourth of July, with large celebrations planned in communities across the country,” he said.

He added the White House would invite 1,000 people including military and frontline workers to celebrate the holiday at an outdoor party.

Federal indoor mask recommendations were lifted for vaccinated people in May and cases are at their lowest since the start of the pandemic.

The country is registering around 10,000 new daily cases a day — just three per 100,000 people, with the daily death rate around 270, or 0.1 per 100,000.

Still, epidemiologists are worried about the rise of the Delta variant, which is more transmissible than past strains and badly hit India, Britain and other countries. It now accounts for at least 20 percent of US cases.

Current vaccines remain effective against the variant if a person is fully vaccinated, but there are fears that undervaccinated parts of the country could incubate new waves.

 

AFP

US Announces $3.2bn Plan To Develop COVID-19 Antiviral Treatments

US President Joe Biden holds a press conference after the US-Russia summit in Geneva on June 16, 2021. (Photo by PETER KLAUNZER / POOL / AFP)

 

The administration of US President Joe Biden announced plans on Thursday to spend $3.2 billion to accelerate the development and discovery of antiviral treatments against Covid-19 and future threats.

The plan is called the Antiviral Program for Pandemics and its funding comes from the American Rescue Plan, a $1.9 trillion package passed by Congress in March.

“Antivirals are an important complement to existing vaccines, especially for individuals with certain conditions that might put them at a greater risk, for those whom vaccines may not be as protective,” Anthony Fauci, the president’s chief medical advisor on the pandemic, told reporters.

Antiviral medication can also act as an important line of defense against emerging variants of concern that evade the protective action of current generation vaccines, he added.

The plan will help accelerate clinical testing for oral antiviral pills currently under various stages of development, such as Merck’s molnupiravir as well as efforts by Pfizer and Atea-Roche.

The plan is for these to be taken very early after an infection is confirmed, in order to stop the disease from progressing to the severe stage — mimicking what Tamiflu does for influenza.

The other pillar of the program is seeding the discovery of new antivirals — not just against this coronavirus and its wider family, but other families of viruses that are believed to have pandemic potential.

AFP

Putin Says US-Russia Summit ‘Constructive’

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken (L), US President Joe Biden (2nd L), Russian President Vladimir Putin (2n R) and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (R) pose for press ahead of the US-Russia summit at the Villa La Grange, in Geneva on June 16, 2021. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP)

 

 

The first summit between US President Joe Biden and his Russian counterpart was “constructive”, Vladimir Putin said Wednesday after the talks in Geneva ended.

“The conversation was absolutely constructive”, Putin told reporters, adding that the sides had agreed for their ambassadors to return in a small gesture of healing in their strained relations.

The ambassadors “will return to their place of work. When exactly is a purely technical question,” Putin told reporters after the summit, which lasted about three and a half hours.

Diplomatic relations between Moscow and Washington had all but broken down since Biden took office in January.

After Biden likened Putin to a “killer”, Russia in March took the rare step of recalling its ambassador Anatoly Antonov. The US envoy, John Sullivan, likewise returned to Washington.

Despite tensions, the summit at an elegant villa on the shore of Lake Geneva got off to a good start, with the two leaders shaking hands and striking cautiously positive notes.

Biden, who was set to hold a separate press conference later, pressed Putin to replace the combustible US-Russian stand-off with a more “predictable” relationship between “two great powers” capable of agreeing to disagree.

He stressed his desire to take US-Russian relations off their increasingly unstable trajectory, in which Washington accuses the Kremlin of everything from meddling in elections to cyberwarfare.

“It’s always better to meet face to face,” he told Putin as they met in the villa’s library, with a globe placed between them.

“We are trying to determine where we have a mutual interest, where we can cooperate; and where we don’t, establish a predictable and rational way in which we disagree — two great powers,” Biden said.

Putin noted at the start of the meeting that “a lot of issues” need addressing “at the highest level” and that he hoped the meeting would be “productive”.

At his press conference after the summit, Putin signalled progress in a number of areas, including an agreement to “start consultations on cybersecurity”.

– Cold War, new problems –
Biden’s apparent offer of a more understanding — if not necessarily a friendly relationship — went a long way toward what Putin is reportedly seeking: increased respect on the world stage.

The reference to the United States and Russia as “two great powers” was sure to please the Kremlin leader, who has dominated his country for two decades, infuriating the West with invasions of Ukraine and Georgia, and often brutal crushing of political dissent.

Expectations were low for anything more than a modest thaw in relations.

Illustrating the frostiness, there was no shared meal during the talks, which were attended by the two countries’ foreign ministers and later by an expanded group of officials.

The choice of Geneva recalled the Cold War summit between US president Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in the Swiss city in 1985.

The summit villa, encircled with barbed wire, was under intense security. Grey patrol boats cruised along the lake front and heavily-armed camouflaged troops stood guard at a nearby yacht marina.

But in contrast with 1985, tensions are less about strategic nuclear weapons and competing ideologies than what the Biden administration sees as an increasingly rogue regime.

From cyberattacks on American entities and meddling in the last two US presidential elections, to human rights violations and aggression against Ukraine and other European countries, Washington’s list of allegations against the Kremlin runs long.

Putin came to the summit arguing that Moscow is simply challenging US hegemony — part of a bid to promote a so-called “multi-polar” world that has seen Russia draw close with the US’s arguably even more powerful adversary China.

In a pre-summit interview with NBC News, he scoffed at allegations that he had anything to do with cyberattacks or the near-fatal poisoning of one of his last remaining domestic opponents, Alexei Navalny.

– ‘Worthy adversary’ –
Biden, ending an intensive first foreign trip as president, arrived in Geneva after summits with NATO and the European Union in Brussels, and a G7 summit in Britain.

While in Brussels, he said he would detail his “red lines.”

“I’m not looking for conflict,” he said, but “we will respond if Russia continues its harmful activities”.

However, Biden, who had previously characterised Putin as a “killer”, upgraded the Russian leader to “worthy adversary”.

And for all the rhetoric, the White House and Kremlin both say they are open to doing business in a limited way.

Officials point to the recent extension of the New START nuclear arms limitation treaty as an example of successful diplomacy.

Unlike in 2018, when Biden’s predecessor Donald Trump met Putin in Helsinki, there was to be no joint press conference at the end of the summit.

The US side clearly wanted to avoid the optics of having Biden sharing that kind of platform with the Russian president.

In 2018, Trump caused a stir by saying, as Putin stood beside him, that he believed the Kremlin leader over his own intelligence services when it came to accusations of Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election bringing Trump to power.

‘Israel Has No Better Friend Than US’: Biden Congratulates New PM Bennett


Head of Israel’s right-wing Yamina party Naftali Bennett addresses lawmakers during a special session to vote on a new government at the Knesset in Jerusalem, on June 13, 2021. Emmanuel DUNAND / AFP

 

US President Joe Biden on Sunday congratulated incoming Israeli prime minister Naftali Bennett after an alliance of parties ousted Benjamin Netanyahu and formed a new government.

“I congratulate Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, Alternate Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, and all the members of the new Israeli cabinet,” Biden said in a statement.

“I look forward to working with Prime Minister Bennett to strengthen all aspects of the close and enduring relationship between our two nations. Israel has no better friend than the United States.

Biden added that he was “fully committed to working with the new Israeli government to advance security, stability, and peace for Israelis, Palestinians, and people throughout the broader region.”

READ ALSOCanada Pays Final Homage To Family Killed In Truck Attack


(L to R) Israel’s outgoing prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu shakes hands with his successor, incoming Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, after a special session to vote on a new government at the Knesset in Jerusalem, on June 13, 2021.  EMMANUEL DUNAND / AFP

 

Bennett, a right-wing Jewish nationalist and former tech millionaire, will take over at the helm of the eight-party bloc, united only by their shared disdain for the hawkish right-wing leader known as Bibi.

In a Knesset speech before the vote, the 49-year-old Bennett promised the new government, a coalition of ideologically divergent parties, “represents all of Israel.”

AFP

‘The United States Is Back!’ Says Biden On First Day Of Europe Tour

US President Joe Biden addresses US Air Force personnel and their families stationed at Royal Air Force Mildenhall, Suffolk, England on June 9, 2021, ahead of the three-day G7 Summit.  (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP)

 

 

Joe Biden on Wednesday declared triumphantly that “The United States is back!”, as he kicked off his first overseas tour as president, hoping to leave behind the rancour and isolation of the Trump era.

Biden ran through a packed itinerary that takes in a G7 leaders’ meeting and a NATO summit before ending with a face-to-face with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Geneva.

With Putin, he told US service personnel at Royal Air Force base Mildenhall in eastern England, he will “let him know what I want him to know”.

Biden Vows To ‘Fill The Silence’ Over 1921 Massacre Of African Americans

US President Joe Biden speaks on the American Jobs Plan, following a tour of Tidewater Community College in Norfolk, Virginia on May 3, 2021.
MANDEL NGAN / AFP

 

 

US President Joe Biden on Tuesday honored the forgotten victims of a 1921 massacre in the city of Tulsa, Oklahoma, one of the worst episodes of racist violence in US history.

“I come here to help fill the silence because in silence wounds deepen,” Biden told an audience that included survivors of the Tulsa race massacre and their families.

Biden was in Tulsa to mark the 100th anniversary of the violence, which began after a group of Black men went to the local courthouse to defend a young African American man accused of assaulting a white woman.

The next day, at dawn, white men looted and burned the neighborhood, at the time so prosperous it was called Black Wall Street. As many as 300 African American residents lost their lives.

READ ALSO: Nearly 300 Rescued In Indonesia Ferry Accident

A century later, Biden said, Black Americans’ “sacred rights” to vote are under “assault with incredible intensity like I’ve never seen.”

Beyond financial compensation, city residents are counting on Biden’s visit to bring more attention to a tragedy that long remained taboo.

Tulsa has also begun to excavate mass graves, where many Black victims of the massacre are buried, in an effort to shed more light on the city’s dark past.

AFP

Biden Pushes $6 Trillion Budget To ‘Reimagine’ US Economy, Beat China

US President Joe Biden speaks about the progress in the fight against Covid-19, at the Sportrock Climbing Centers in Alexandria, Virginia on May 28, 2021. MANDEL NGAN / AFP
US President Joe Biden speaks about the progress in the fight against Covid-19, at the Sportrock Climbing Centers in Alexandria, Virginia on May 28, 2021. MANDEL NGAN / AFP

 

President Joe Biden on Friday proposed a $6 trillion budget to “reimagine” the US economy and stave off Chinese competition, though driving the United States into record debt — and with Congress first needing to give approval.

Announcing the proposed spending, Biden said a post-pandemic United States “cannot afford to simply return to the way things were before.”

“We must seize the moment to reimagine and rebuild a new American economy,” he said.

The president’s annual budget is more a wish list or a message on his priorities than anything else. Congress ultimately decides what money goes where and the current Congress has only the narrowest Democratic majority.

Opposition Republicans are leery of any big new role for the central government. Even some of Biden’s supporters warn that an economy already set to roar back from the Covid-19 shutdown risks getting swept up into an inflationary spiral.

READ ALSO: US Senate Leader Pushes Bill To Boost Industry Against China

But the massive plan signals the White House’s determination to put hard numbers on Biden’s campaign to rethink the relationship between government and business in what he says is an existential contest with China.

Under the Biden blueprint, the federal spigot would unleash $6.011 trillion in 2022, with increases gradually rising to $8.2 trillion in 2031. Debt as a percentage of annual GDP would be expected to quickly surpass the level seen at the end of World War II.

The Democrat made clear where the lion’s share of that expected $6 trillion price tag should go.

One huge chunk would be an infrastructure bill originally proposed at $2.3 trillion but since whittled down to $1.7 trillion in negotiations with Congress.

Another $1.8 trillion would go on increased state-funded education and social services — all, Biden argues, part of building a better 21st century workforce.

The overall aim, Biden said, is to grow the US middle class, while positioning “the United States to out-compete our rivals.”

Can it pass?

The budget proposal is being unveiled just ahead of the long Memorial Day weekend and with Congress heading out on a week’s recess.

The timing may dampen the immediate furor on Capitol Hill where many Democrats want Biden to use his control of Congress to push transformational legislation but Republicans are playing hardball in trying to block most of what the president proposes.

Spending priorities are just one area of division.

For example, Republicans are pretty much unanimous in opposing Biden’s broad definition of infrastructure to include green energy and social programs

But there’s even less agreement on how to pay for it.

Biden wants to raise money by ending a corporate tax cut Republicans passed under his predecessor Donald Trump. He also wants to go aggressively after tax loopholes used by the ultra-wealthy and large corporations.

Republicans refuse to accept this and say their own, more modest, infrastructure spending plans could be paid for by reallocating unspent money already budgeted.

Despite the standoff — and the sheer scale of Biden’s mega budget — the White House still has a potential ace up its sleeve in that slim Democratic majority.

Ordinarily, Biden needs at least 10 Republicans to cross over in the evenly split Senate, a tall order at the best of times.

However, if Democrats remain unanimous — which is also not guaranteed — they may be able to pass the budget through a fast-track procedure known as reconciliation.

 

AFP

George Floyd’s Brother Meets Biden, Wants ‘Laws To Protect People Of Color’

George Floyd’s brother Philonise Floyd speaks with other family members and lawyers outside the White House after meeting with US President Joe Biden in Washington, DC, on May 25, 2021. JIM WATSON / AFP
George Floyd’s brother Philonise Floyd speaks with other family members and lawyers outside the White House after meeting with US President Joe Biden in Washington, DC, on May 25, 2021. JIM WATSON / AFP

 

Philonise Floyd, George Floyd’s younger brother, met with President Joe Biden at the White House on Tuesday and called for “federal laws to protect people of color.”

Philonise Floyd and other members of the family met privately with the president on the first anniversary of George Floyd’s May 25, 2020 murder by a Minneapolis police officer.

“If you can make federal laws to protect the bird, the bald eagle, you can make federal laws to protect people of color,” Philonise Floyd said.

Meanwhile, President Joe Biden praised the bravery of George Floyd’s family, a year to the day since the African American man was killed by a police officer during an arrest, sparking nationwide protests.

“The Floyd family has shown extraordinary courage, especially his young daughter Gianna, who I met again today,” Biden said in a statement after talking with several members of the Floyd family in the White House.

“His murder launched a summer of protest we hadn’t seen since the Civil Rights era in the ’60s — protests that peacefully unified people of every race and generation to collectively say enough of the senseless killings,” Biden said.

 

AFP

US Open To Denuclearisation Of North Korea – White House

A photo combination of US President Joe Biden and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
A photo combination of US President Joe Biden and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

 

President Joe Biden is open to diplomatic negotiations with North Korea on denuclearization, the White House said Friday after completion of a review by the new administration of US policy.

“Our goal remains the complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula,” Biden’s press secretary, Jen Psaki, told reporters.

US policy will see “a calibrated, practical approach that is open to and will explore diplomacy” with North Korea, she said.

READ ALSO: 44 Die In Israel Pilgrimage Site Stampede 

Psaki gave little indication of what kind of diplomatic initiative this could entail, but suggested that Biden had learned from the experience of previous administrations, who have struggled for decades to deal with the dictatorship in North Korea or, in recent years, its growing nuclear arsenal.

She said Washington would not “focus on achieving a grand bargain,” apparently referring to the kind of dramatic over-arching deal that Donald Trump initially suggested was possible when he met with North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un.

Neither would the White House follow the more standoff approach called “strategic patience,” espoused by Barack Obama, Psaki said.

In April, South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who is due to visit the White House on May 21, urged Biden to engage directly with Kim on denuclearization.

Moon told the newspaper he favored “top-down diplomacy.”