North Korea goes dark: Mystery as Kim Jong-un refuses to answer Biden’s calls

North Korea: Military parade shows off new ballistic missiles

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Mr Biden’s administration has begun a behind-the-scenes push to start talks with Pyongyang in February but is yet to receive any response. Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un has also not congratulated Mr Biden on his presidential win weeks after his inauguration.

A senior White House official said there had been efforts to reach out to the secretive nation “through several channels starting in mid-February”.

But they added: “To date, we have not received any response from Pyongyang.”

Over the last few months, North Korea has unveiled two new weapons including a new submarine-launched missile and the nation’s biggest ever ICBM, the Hwasong-16.

The Supreme leader struck up an unusual friendship with former US President Donald Trump.

In 2018, Kim and Mr Trump met in Singapore to discuss denuclearisation of the peninsula.

The first summit resulted in both sides agreeing to “establish new US-DPRK relations” and to “work toward the complete denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula”.

But nothing concrete was finalised and their second summit was cut short after Kim requested an end to all sanctions.

Before his election win, Mr Biden had been a vocal critic of Kim and referred to him as a “thug”.

During a presidential debate last year, Mr Biden attacked Mr Trump’s “bromance” diplomacy with the North Korean leader.

He said: “What has he done? He’s legitimized North Korea.

“He’s talked about his good buddy who’s a thug, a thug.

“And he talks about how we’re better off and they have much more capable missiles able to reach US territory much more easily than it ever did before.”

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Ahead of Mr Biden’s inauguration in January, Kim vowed to increase North Korea’s nuclear military capabilities in the coming months.

While assuming the title of general secretary of the Korean Worker’s Party, Kim said in his speech his country should be “redirected on subduing” the US.

North Korean state media quoted the supreme leader as saying: “Our foreign political activities should be focused and redirected on subduing the US, our biggest enemy and main obstacle to our innovated development.

“No matter who is in power in the US, the true nature of the US and its fundamental policies towards North Korea never change.”

He also promised to pursue closer ties with “anti-imperialist, independent forces” and vowed to increase Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile capabilities.

Last month, Pyongyang and Iran announced they were working together to develop long-range ballistic missiles.

Mr Biden insisted Tehran must fully comply with the nuclear deal before billions in US sanctions are lifted.

Professor Sung-Yoon Lee, a leading North Korean expert at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, said: “North Korea is a serial proliferator.

“This is a long and very close partnership between North Korea and Iran.

“We know that North Korea and Iran are united in common factors or ideological hostility toward the United States.”

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