(ATTN: UPDATES with additional remarks from Blinken from 6th para: ADDS photo)
By Byun Duk-kun
WASHINGTON, Jan. 19 (Yonhap) -- The new U.S. administration of Joe Biden plans to review the country's entire approach and policy toward North Korea, Biden's secretary of state nominee said Tuesday.
Antony Blinken said the new administration may also try to find ways to get humanitarian assistance to the North to help lessen the suffering of North Korean people if necessary.
"I think we have to review and we intend to review the entire approach and policy toward North Korea because this is a hard problem that has plagued administration after administration, and it's a problem that has not gotten better," Blinken said in his confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
"In fact, it's gotten worse," he said.
The former deputy secretary of state said the government will begin by looking at what options it has to increase "pressure on North Korea to come to the negotiating table, as well as what other diplomatic initiatives may be possible."
"But that starts with consulting closely with our allies and partners, particularly with South Korea and with Japan and others," he said.
Denuclearization negotiations with North Korea have stalled since the second U.S.-North Korea summit ended without a deal in Hanoi in February 2019. The first U.S.-North Korea summit was held in Singapore in June 2018 between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
While noting the possible need to increase pressure on North Korea, Blinken agreed the international sanctions on the North must not inadvertently harm the North Korean people.
"I think in North Korea and in other similarly situated places, we have to have an eye clearly on the people of the country in question, and do what we can to alleviate their suffering," said Blinken.
He added the U.S. will try to identify ways to deliver humanitarian assistant to the impoverished North.
"So we do want to make sure that anything we do, we have an eye on the humanitarian side of the equation, not just on the security side of the equation," Blinken said.
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