The Biden administration’s “intensive multi-stakeholder North Korea policy review” is nearing completion, but a simple shift in language could prove to be a stumbling block for any talks with the nuclear-armed country — and a sign of obstacles toward greater trilateral cooperation with Tokyo and Seoul.

In terms of its endgame with Pyongyang, U.S. President Joe Biden’s team has taken to using the phrasing “denuclearization of North Korea” in a number of official documents and speeches, a seemingly subtle pivot from the previous “denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”

While couched in nuance, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un may see this change as a worrying portent from the new U.S. administration.