White House confirms Biden administration reached out to North Korea

North Korea breaks silence to warn US against 'causing a stink'

In 2018, North Korea and the US began a negotiation process that led to three summits between then US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, first in Singapore in June 2018 and the second in Hisar in February 2019.

She also criticized the new USA administration led by Biden for wanting to spread the "smell of gunpowder from across the ocean", urging Washington not to "create work that would prevent it from sleeping in a proper manner" for the next four years.

Kim Yo Jong's comments on Tuesday were Pyongyang's first reaction to the drills running from March 8 through Thursday. North Korea is expected to factor into those conversations, particularly with the South Koreans.

"We take this opportunity to warn the new USA administration trying hard to give off (a gunpowder) smell in our land", the official Korean Central News Agency quoted Kim Yo Jong as saying. North Korea's nuclear and missile programs were high atop the agenda, officials said. "If it wants to sleep in peace for (the) coming four years, it had better refrain from causing a stink at its first step".

USA officials said on Saturday that the Biden administration had reached out to North Korea three times since mid-February but had not yet received a response.

Kim Yo-jong, the vice department director of North Korea's ruling Workers' Party Central Committee.

Kim Yo Jong's statement today was issued as US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin arrived in Asia to talk to US allies Japan and South Korea about North Korea and other regional issues.

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"War exercises and dialogue, hostility and cooperation can never exist together", she said in a statement carried by state media. Trump in 2018 became the first sitting USA president to meet with a North Korean leader - holding a total of three high-profile summits with Kim - only for the diplomatic gambit to end in failure after Pyongyang demanded that Washington end its "hostile policy" toward the North.

The South Korean and United States militaries began annual military exercises last week that continue through to Friday.

She noted that her country's opposition to the joint military exercises saying: "The South Korean government yet again chose the "March of War", the "March of Crisis". To date, the official said, "we have not received any response from Pyongyang".

The warning came as the USA secretaries of state and defense made their first visit overseas, traveling to Tokyo for so-called two-plus-two talks with their counterparts on the alliance's role in maintaining security in the region.

If Seoul becomes more provocative, Pyongyang will take reciprocal measures such as scraping bilateral military agreements created to ease tensions on the divided Korean Peninsula, Kim Yo Jong said in a statement dated Monday.

Austin and Blinken arrived in Tokyo on Monday and will be consulting with both it and Seoul on the new administration's review of U.S. policy towards Pyongyang, but China will be the main focus of their discussions.

However, experts told CNN prior to Kim Yo Jong's message that Pyongyang was likely to rebuff diplomatic efforts for the time-being for a number of reasons including the coronavirus pandemic, the Biden team's ongoing North Korea policy review, the meetings in the region and the administration's rhetoric.

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