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[Newsmaker] N. Korea unusually quiet after Biden elected president

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un chairs a politburo meeting Oct. 5, 2020. (KCNA-Yonhap)
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un chairs a politburo meeting Oct. 5, 2020. (KCNA-Yonhap)
North Korea has yet to address the outcome of the US election, let alone engage in anti-US rhetoric, more than a week after Joe Biden became president-elect on Nov. 7. Its silence stands in sharp contrast with its quick responses to past US elections.

Previously Pyongyang has responded within a week, except in 2000 when it released a statement only after the US Supreme Court handed former President George W. Bush victory over former Vice President Al Gore in a vote recount dispute.

Speculation is mounting that the North may be following that precedent as US President Donald Trump is legally challenging the results of the election in some states, claiming voter fraud.

His campaign petitioned a federal court in Pennsylvania not to certify the results in Biden’s favor. A judge turned down a similar request from the Trump campaign in Michigan. Biden’s victory was propelled by wins in Pennsylvania and Michigan.

Some experts said it may be that North Korea sees no immediate opportunity to take advantage of the US election.

“Outside news also serves as a pretext to amplify its own propaganda to people in the North,” said Shin Jong-woo, a senior analyst at the Korea Defense and Security Forum, adding that this can mean justifying its provocations or rallying people for a cause.

“At the moment, neither an unknown Biden, who has yet to set policy for North Korea, nor a losing Trump, who could only add to disappointment in Pyongyang, is newsworthy.”

Trump often touted a special relationship with Kim, having exchanged personal letters with him in addition to meeting him, becoming the first sitting US president to meet his North Korean counterpart.

“We’ll just have to wait and see how Pyongyang responds this time,” Shin added.

By Choi Si-young (