US President Joe Biden delivers remarks during a visit at Tidewater Community College in Norfolk, Virginia, US. (Reuters-Yonhap)
WASHINGTON -- US President Joe Biden said Monday he decided to extend US sanctions on North Korea for another year, a move that follows the latest US outreach to the reclusive nation for dialogue at any time and place.
In a letter to the speaker of the US House of Representatives, Biden said the North's fissile material as well as its pursuit of nuclear and missile programs "continue to constitute an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States."
"For this reason, I have determined that it is necessary to continue the national emergency declared in Executive Order 13466 with respect to North Korea," he said in the letter, released by the White House.
The executive order declaring a national emergency with respect to North Korea first went into effect on June 26, 2008, under the George W. Bush administration.
US sanctions under the 2008 executive order have since been extended annually, while the scope of sanctions has been expanded through five executive orders in 2010, 2011, 2015, 2016 and 2017.
Biden noted in his letter that the national emergency automatically terminates on its anniversary unless otherwise stated by the president.
Still, the move comes amid US overtures to restart dialogue with North Korea, which has stayed away from talks with the United States since its leader Kim Jong-un's summit with former US President Donald Trump in Hanoi in February 2019 ended without a deal.
The Biden administration said it had sought to engage with Pyongyang in February and again when its monthslong review of North Korea policy ended in April. North Korea reportedly remains unresponsive to the US overtures.
Sung Kim, US special envoy for North Korea, on Monday renewed his country's offer to engage with the North.
"We continue to hope that the DPRK will respond positively to our outreach and our offer to meet anywhere, anytime without preconditions," Kim said in a Seoul meeting with his South Korean and Japanese counterparts.
DPRK stands for the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, the North's official name. (Yonhap)