President Biden, who is on a multiday trip to Asia, had a brief message for North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Sunday.
Asked during a stop in Seoul if Biden has a message for Kim while in the region, the president responded, “Hello. Period.”
The comment comes one day after Biden said he would consider meeting with the North Korean leader if he was “sincere” and “serious” about discussions regarding Pyongyang’s nuclear program. North Korea’s nuclear arsenal has been the focus of heightened tensions between the country and the U.S.
It is not customary for U.S. presidents to meet with the leader of North Korea, but former President Trump generated headlines during his time in office for meeting with Kim three times. During one encounter, Trump stepped into North Korea.
The U.S.’s talks with North Korea during the Trump presidency regarding the North’s nuclear program, however, were not successful.
Now, the Biden administration is preparing for North Korea to potentially launch a ballistic missile or nuclear test while Biden is traveling through Asia. White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan last week said such an instance was a “genuine possibility” during or in close proximity to Biden’s trip.
North Korea has launched a number of ballistic missile tests this year, but it has not conducted a nuclear test since 2017.
Biden set off on a trip to Asia on Thursday, marking his first visit to the region during his presidency.
He capped off a three-day stop in South Korea on Sunday at Osan Air Base, where service members from the U.S. and South Korea monitor the North’s nuclear threat.
Biden, in the command center of the base, said, “you are the front line, right here in this room.”
The president is now headed to Japan.