John Kirby, the press secretary of the Department of Defense, said on Monday (local time) that the examination of U.S. policy toward North Korea led by the Joe Biden administration is a very serious security issue and that it should be dealt with in the most cautious way possible. “Rushing it and failing at the end will be extremely dangerous to not only Americans, but also the allies of the U.S., such as South Korea and Japan,” he said regarding the delayed announcement of new North Korea policy, which was expected to happen in mid-April.
“The failure of North Korea policy carries too much risk so nobody wants to hurry this matter,” Kirby said during an interview with the Dong-A Ilbo at the Pentagon 100 days ahead of the launch of the Biden administration, indicating that the announcement of the new policy may take some time. He served as an admiral and worked as a press secretary of the State Department during the Barack Obama administration. He is one of the rare high-ranking officials with experience in both foreign affairs and military fields.
“Everybody can clearly see that we are putting priority on the Indo-Pacific region,” said Kirby on foreign security policy since the Biden administration took office. He pointed to strengthening the national defense strategy against China as a key objective. According to Kirby, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin’s visits to Japan and South Korea as his first destinations for overseas tour and the appointment of China Task Force Director and President Biden’s long-standing advisor Ely Ratner as an assistant secretary of defense for Indo-Pacific security affairs are the prime examples that show where the U.S. stands. “A review of China policy led by the China Task Force of the Defense Department will be completed in June,” he said. “Once budget allocation in the relevant fields begins, we will be able to focus more on the region.”
“Those are not empty words,” Kirby said regarding the Biden administration’s continuous public announcement on restoring alliances. “It is a key area on which Secretary Austin is focusing.” He also added that alliances are literally the foundation of all things they do at the Department of Defense and that the department has been investing heavily in alliances whose results will be seen going forward. “Allies and partners have capabilities, knowledge, and experience we do not have in the region and are better than us in certain areas,” he said. “Ignoring this would be stupid, irresponsible, and imprudent.”
Press Secretary Kirby explained on Monday in detail how different the purpose and objective of public communication and press briefing are under the Biden administration. “Informing the U.S. policy to not only Americans but also our allies and partners is a serious duty,” he said on why briefings are held regularly unlike the Donald Trump administration that almost held none.