North Korea and leader Kim Jong Un yet to react to Joe Biden's victory

SEOUL (THE KOREA HERALD/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) – Now that Democrat Joe Biden has won the US presidential election, how the new President-elect and his administration would cope with North Korea is attracting keen attention in South Korea.

During his election campaign rallies, Mr Biden called North Korean leader Kim Jong Un a “dictator” and a “thug”, and criticised his rival President Donald Trump for befriending Mr Kim.

But Mr Biden indicated that he was also willing to meet Mr Kim, saying that his condition would be that Pyongyang works to make the Korean peninsula “a nuclear-free zone”.

North Korea also has criticised Mr Biden, who served two terms as vice-president to President Barack Obama from 2009 to 2017, calling him a “low-IQ individual” who is “seized by ambition for power”.

The exchange of harsh rhetoric between Mr Kim and Mr Biden contrasts with the personal relationship that the North Korean leader developed with Mr Trump.

Mr Trump and Mr Kim have met three times and exchanged letters since 2018 to try to reach a deal on dismantling the North’s nuclear weapons programme in exchange for sanctions relief. The meetings ended without substantial results.

While Mr Kim has been actively trying to strengthen his relationship with leaders of allies, including Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin, by sending letters and congratulatory messages this year, the regime had not yet reacted to Mr Biden’s victory as of press time.

When Mr Trump was elected in 2016, North Korean media did not mention the winner of the election. Instead, its state media Rodong Sinmun reported that the Obama administration has put a greater burden on the new administration.

“It has burdened the new administration with the difficulty of facing the Juche (self-reliant) nuclear state,” it said, referring to the North, in an editorial published on Nov 10, 2016, just after Mr Trump was elected as the 45th US president.

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“If there is anything the Obama administration has done… it has put the security of the US mainland in the greatest danger,” the editorial said.

Mr Trump’s name was first mentioned by North Korea 10 days after he was announced to be the winner of the election – to criticise then South Korean President Park Geun-hye for sending a congratulatory message to Mr Trump.

For live updates and results, follow our US election live coverage.

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