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North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. Photo: API/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

The White House will host security officials from Japan and South Korea in Washington, D.C., next week for “intensive consultations” on North Korea, senior Biden administration officials told reporters on Tuesday.

Driving the news: Officials acknowledged reports that North Korea performed a series of missile tests over the weekend, first reported by the Washington Post, but downplayed that news by calling it “normal military activity.”

  • The tests do not mean diplomacy with Pyongyang is off the table, per officials.
  • Calling this an "intensive period for Indo-Pacific diplomacy," the officials did not divulge any further details on the missile tests, like exactly how many missiles were tested. While acknowledging that such short-range systems are not covered by UNSC resolutions, the officials said they do not respond to every kind of test performed by North Korea.
  • National Security adviser Jake Sullivan will host his counterparts from Japan and South Korea.

Details: Biden administration officials said that engaging North Korea did come up during the first bilateral high-level meeting between the U.S. and China in Anchorage last week.

  • The U.S. will brief China on its approach to North Korea as it develops, but officials stressed that the priority is to first engage American allies.

What they’re saying: “We are under no illusions of the difficulty this task presents to us,” said one administration official. “We have a long history of disappointment in diplomacy with North Korea.”

  • Recently, Kim Yo-jong, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s sister, issued a warning in her first statement to the Biden administration. "If it wants to sleep in peace for coming four years, it had better refrain from causing a stink at its first step,” she said.

Go deeper

25 mins ago - Health

Vermont becomes first state to reach 80% vaccine threshold

A COVID-19 vaccination record card and an "I got my COVID-19 vaccine!" sticker. (Photo by: Don and Melinda Crawford/Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

Vermont Gov. Phil Scott (R) announced Monday that 80% of its eligible population has received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Why it matters: Vermont is the first state in the country to reach that threshold. As a result, Scott said he is removing all COVID-19 restrictions.

Garland says DOJ will strengthen rules on obtaining lawmakers' records

Photo: Tom Brenner-Pool/Getty Images

Attorney General Merrick Garland said Monday he has directed Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco to "evaluate and strengthen the department’s existing policies and procedures for obtaining records" from members of Congress.

Why it matters: At Garland's direction, the Justice Department's inspector general has opened an investigation into the Trump-era DOJ's use of secret subpoenas to obtain data belonging to House Democrats.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
2 hours ago - Technology

Israel's new PM Naftali Bennett made his name as a millionaire tech founder

Photo illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios. Photo: Menahem Kahana/AFP via Getty Images

Naftali Bennett yesterday became prime minister of Israel, succeeding Benjamin Netanyahu, after his power-sharing government survived a vote of confidence.

Why it matters: Bennett becomes Israel's first new prime minister since 2009, and he takes office as Netanyahu stands trial for corruption.

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