North Korea stays mum on Biden's election victory - The Korea Times
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North Korea stays mum on Biden's election victory

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un / AP
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un / AP

North Korea has stayed mum for more than a week on Joe Biden's election as U.S. president, an uncommonly long silence on the results of such a major political event that could have ramifications on its relations with Washington.

Observers say the North appears to be careful in making any response to the election results as President Donald Trump, who has boasted of friendly relations with leader Kim Jong-un, has yet to concede defeat.

As of early Sunday morning, North Korea's media outlets have not mentioned the U.S. presidential election, nor have they reported on its results or carried any message toward Washington.

The Rodong Sinmun, the official newspaper of the North's ruling party, carried several stories, including one calling for stepped-up efforts to carry out an 80-day campaign until the end of this year in the face of the global coronavirus pandemic.

However, it did not run any stories about the U.S. election.

The Korean Central News Agency, Pyongyang's state news agency, also did not run any stories on the U.S. election. It carried stories on nationwide efforts to stave off an outbreak of the coronavirus and recover from typhoon-inflicted damage.

It is rare for the North to continue its silence this long given that it has mentioned or issued a statement just a few days after previous U.S. presidential elections.

North Korea's media reported on Barack Obama's election two days after his victory, reacting positively to his win over the Republican candidate John McCain.

When Obama was reelected in 2012, however, the North reported on his victory in a commentary article four days later, reflecting its view of the Obama administration's "strategic patience" policy of waiting for the North to return to the negotiating table while putting pressure on Pyongyang.

When Trump won the 2016 presidential election, the North reported it in the Rodong Sinmun two days later but referred to him as the new administration without mentioning his name.

Experts say the North's silence could be because of Trump's refusal to accept defeat. Pyongyang has apparently preferred Trump's election given his friendly relationship with leader Kim. The two held two historic summit talks in 2018 and 2019.

North Korea, however, has been tough on Biden, with its media deriding him as a "fool of low IQ" and an "imbecile bereft of elementary quality as a human being." Biden has also vowed "principled" diplomacy on North Korea, calling leader Kim a "thug" and "dictator."

As North Korea's silence continues, questions are growing over when and how Pyongyang will react to the latest U.S. presidential election.

"North Korea could send a congratulatory message in a way to show the aspect of a normal state," Kim Dong-yeop, a research professor at Kyungnam University's Institute for Far Eastern Studies, said.

Experts, however, said that the message, if any, would be terse and dry given the North's unfavorable stance toward Biden and worries that any friendly message could prematurely set the tone for its future talks with Washington. (Yonhap)

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