North Korea is already testing the incoming Joe Biden administration. Speaking at the first Congress of the Workers’ Party of Korea in five years, North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un said he wants to bolster his military, especially his nuclear arsenal. According to North Korea’s state news, Kim called the United States a “war monster,” and North Korea’s “biggest main enemy.”
This increases the possibility of saber-rattling in the first half of 2021. The Biden team may take a different approach to North Korea than the Trump administration. Instead of off-and-on head of state diplomacy, the incoming administration may take a hardline stance on North Korean denuclearization without working toward some sort of diplomatic détente.
It doesn’t look like playing nice with North Korea is a high priority for team Biden. It’s also worth noting Kim has called Biden a “rabid dog” who “deserves to be beaten.”
Yet taking an absolutist stance on denuclearization without seeking incremental normalization would be a