President Joe Biden’s nominee for deputy secretary of state highlighted the need to focus “even more” on deterrence against growing North Korean threats, noting Pyongyang continues to perfect its long-range weapons capabilities while shunning dialogue, Report informs referring to Yonhap.

Kurt Campbell, currently the National Security Council coordinator for Indo-Pacific affairs, made the remarks during a Senate confirmation hearing as he responded to a question of whether he has any “creative” ideas to address the North Korean quandary.

“I am worried that North Korea in the current environment has decided that they are no longer interested in diplomacy with the United States,” he said. “That means that we are going to have to focus even more on deterrence.”

Kurt Campbell, nominee for deputy secretary of state, speaks during a Senate confirmation hearing on December 7, 2023, in this photo captured from the livestreaming of the hearing on the website of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Campbell was apparently referring to last week’s statement by Kim Yo-jong, the sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. In the statement, she ruled out the possibility of the North resuming dialogue with the US, adding to tensions heightened by Pyongyang’s satellite launch.

Kim’s statement added to growing skepticism over the prospects of dialogue between the US and the North at a time when Washington is consumed heavily with a range of global challenges, including Russia’s war in Ukraine and the war between Israel and the Hamas militant group.

Noting that the North Korean conundrum has “flummoxed” American diplomats for decades, Campbell said that the Biden administration has taken some “creative” and “inventive” approaches toward the North, such as offering vaccines during the height of COVID-19 and other kinds of engagements on humanitarian grounds.