Biden sends greeting to Kim Jong-un amid increasing fears over North Korean nuclear tests

Monkeypox: Joe Biden says ‘everyone should be concerned’

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Speaking to reporters in Seoul on Sunday, the US President said he had a simple message for the North Korea leader: “Hello period.” Mr Biden was enjoying his last day in South Korea before moving on to Japan as part of his first visit to Asia since becoming President.

The US President said he was “not concerned” about North Korea restarting its nuclear testing after an absence of five years.

North Korea has resumed testing intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) while intelligence reports have indicated that Pyongyang is preparing for a new nuclear test.

Mr Biden insisted: “We are prepared for anything North Korea does.”

On Saturday, Mr Biden and new South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol agreed to consider developing larger military exercises and deploying more American nuclear capable weapons to the region.

The US President said on Saturday that North Korea had failed to respond to American offers of COVID-19 vaccines as the secretive state battles an ongoing outbreak.

Mr Biden added that he would be willing to meet the North Korean leader for talks if he thought they would lead to a serious breakthrough.

However, a senior US administration official told Reuters that COVID-19 restrictions may be delaying Pyongyang’s response.

North Korea has argued the US offers are insincere because Washington maintains “hostile policies” such as military drills and sanctions.

The official made it clear that the Biden administration was looking for serious steps rather than grand gestures.

The official clarified: “This is a decision that only the DPRK can make.”

On Monday, Mr Biden is expected to urge allies in the Indo-Pacific region to resist the increasing economic and military threat posed by China as he arrives in Japan.

The US President has argued that democracies in the Pacific need to work together economically and politically as well as in a military sense. 

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He said: “Things have changed.There is a sense among the democracies in the Pacific that there’s a need to co-operate much more closely.

“Not just militarily, but in terms of economically and politically.”

Japan has vowed to double its military spending to around £86 billion breaking restrictions set on defence spending established at the end of the second world war.

Tokyo is concerned about threats from China, North Korea and Russia and the proposed hike in defence spending would bring it in line with the 2 percent of GDP required by NATO members.

According to The Japan Times, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is expected to tell Mr Biden that Tokyo is set to develop a “counterstrike capability” involving mobile or submarine based missiles.

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