The U.S. State Department’s mention of “counterproductive” regarding the explosion of the inter-Korean joint liaison office by the North on Tuesday (local time) implies a potential turn of the U.S.’ attitude from an emphasis on diplomacy and negotiations in the case of further armed provocations. The State Department raised a level of warning against the North without calling the country back to the negotiation table.
The above statement by a State Department spokesperson came in three hours after the first response of a high-ranking official in the U.S. administration that they were closely working with an ally, South Korea, which means it is the stance of the administration after the review of the North Korea team of the State Department and consultation with relevant departments.
It is also noticeable that the spokesperson said the United States “fully supports” South Korea's efforts on inter-Korean relations. The part where the economic cooperation between the two Koreas should proceed “in lockstep,” which used to be included in the U.S.’ statements asking to slow down the speed of such cooperation, was omitted this time. The U.S. seems to be supporting South Korea while ensuring that there will be no further armed demonstrations or military provocations by North Korea.
U.S. President Donald Trump is remaining cautious without releasing any message about the North’s movements. It is quite different from his reactions when there was a lot of attention on the U.S.-North Korea negotiations last year. He seems less interested in the country, which has lower political priority, despite its threats.