SEOUL – North Korea said on Sunday that President Biden made “a big blunder” in calling its nuclear arsenal a threat last week, and he warned that the United States would face “a very serious situation” ‘They maintained what they called a “hostile policy” towards Pyongyang.
The statement, attributed to a senior official, was one of three the North released on Sunday against the United States and its ally South Korea. They included warnings that the North could respond to recent statements by the Biden administration on the country with unspecified “corresponding measures”.
Mr Biden made a brief reference to North Korea in his address to a joint session of Congress on Wednesday, saying its nuclear program and that of Iran posed “serious threats to American security and the security of the world” . He said the United States and its allies would treat them “with diplomacy as well as severe deterrence.”
“It is certain that the chief of the US executive made a big mistake,” Kwon Jong-gun, a senior official at the North Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said in a statement released by North State media. . He said Mr. Biden’s remark “clearly reflects his intention to continue pursuing the hostile policy towards” North Korea.
“We will be forced to press for the corresponding measures to be taken, and in time the United States will find itself in a very serious situation,” he said.
North Korea has long declared that it will not give up its nuclear arsenal until the United States changes its “hostile” policy. He has doubled down on that insistence since direct talks between his leader, Kim Jong-un, and President Donald J. Trump ended in 2019 without a deal on dismantling nuclear facilities in the North or easing US sanctions on the North. North.
On March 25, North Korea launched two short-range ballistic missiles, its first such test in a year. Analysts have since warned that the North may carry out more tests or other provocations in an attempt to strengthen its influence in any discussions with the Biden administration.
The administration, which conducted a review of North Korea’s policy, recently indicated that it would pursue a strategy somewhere between Mr. Trump’s direct outreach to Mr. Kim, in which he was working to conclude a single and comprehensive agreement, and “strategic patience”. approach of former President Barack Obama, who sought to force the North to negotiate through sanctions and other forms of pressure. Both approaches failed and North Korea continued to expand its arsenal.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on Friday that the administration “will not focus on making a big deal, nor will it rely on strategic patience.” She said she would seek “a calibrated and practical approach that is open and explore diplomacy” with North Korea and that she would try to “make practical advances that increase the security” of the United States and its allies. .
In his statement on Sunday, Kwon said the administration’s speech on diplomacy was “a false sign to cover up its hostile acts”.
In a separate statement on Sunday, also released by state media, the Northern Foreign Ministry accused the administration of using criticism of the North’s human rights record as “a political weapon to overthrow our social system. “.
“We will be forced to take corresponding action,” said an unidentified spokesperson for the ministry. “We have already made it clear that we will counter in the strongest terms anyone who encroaches on the dignity of our supreme leadership, which is more precious than our lives.”
This was in response to a statement last week by Ned Price, the State Department spokesman, who called North Korea “one of the most repressive and totalitarian states in the world.” Mr Price cited “shoot-to-kill orders on the North Korea-China border” that U.S. officials say the North has imposed since the emergence of Covid-19.
Also on Sunday, Mr. Kim’s sister, Kim Yo-jong, denounced South Korea for failing to prevent a group of activists from using balloons to send propaganda leaflets across the country’s border to the North.
Such launches, a tactic often used by deserters from North Korea campaigning against the Kim regime, were banned by South Korea in March on the grounds that they unnecessarily provoked Pyongyang and endangered South Koreans. living near the border. The North cited propaganda launches last year when it blew up an office building on its soil where officials from the two Koreas had worked together.
Park Sang-hak, who heads a group of defectors in Seoul, said on Friday his organization defied the launch ban earlier in the week, throwing 10 large balloons carrying half a million leaflets. He accused the South Korean government of “gagging” defectors and denying North Koreans the right to know how their leaders were viewed by the outside world.
Ms Kim, who serves as her brother’s spokesperson on inter-Korean issues, called the defectors “human waste” in her statement on Sunday, calling the launch a “serious provocation” and warning that the North will “consider corresponding measures” .