Will counter US hostility, says North Korea

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SEOUL, South Korea — Accusing the United States of hostility and threats, North Korea said Thursday it would consider restarting “all temporarily suspended activities” it had halted during its diplomacy with the Trump administration, in an apparent threat to resume nuclear testing. explosives and long-range missiles.

North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency said leader Kim Jong Un chaired a meeting of the ruling Workers’ Party Politburo, where officials set policy goals to “immediately strengthen” military capabilities to counter Americans” https://www.nwaonline.com/news/2022/jan/21/will-counter-us-hostility-n-korea-says/ “hostile movements”.

Officials instructed to “comprehensively reconsider the confidence-building measures we have taken on our own initiative…and promptly consider the issue of restarting all temporarily suspended activities,” the report said. the news agency.

Experts say Kim is reviving an old tightrope playbook to extract concessions from Washington and its neighbors as he grapples with a decaying economy crippled by the pandemic, mismanagement and US sanctions against its nuclear ambitions.

North Korea has recently stepped up its weapons demonstrations, including four rounds of missile launches this month, in an apparent effort to pressure Washington over an extended freeze on nuclear diplomacy.

North Korea’s foreign ministry had already warned of stronger action after the Biden administration last week imposed new sanctions over its continued missile testing. The UN Security Council has scheduled a closed-door meeting on Thursday to discuss North Korea and non-proliferation issues.

Last week, the US Treasury Department imposed sanctions on five North Koreans for their role in obtaining equipment and technology for the country’s missile programs.

The State Department ordered sanctions against another North Korean, a Russian, and a Russian company for their broader support of North Korea’s weapons of mass destruction activities. The Biden administration has also said it will pursue additional UN sanctions over North testing.

South Korea has said its military is watching the North closely as it urges its rival to resume dialogue.

China, North Korea’s main ally, reiterated its denunciation of US sanctions during a Foreign Ministry briefing on Thursday, calling them a source of tension on the Korean peninsula. China has avoided criticizing the North for its recent missile launches and has endorsed a return to Beijing-sponsored multinational disarmament talks that have stalled since 2008.

North Korea appears to have resumed rail freight traffic with China this month that had been suspended for two years.

It carried out its sixth and final test of a nuclear explosive device in September 2017, and its last launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile was in November of the same year.

Claiming that American hostility has reached a “danger line” that can no longer be ignored, members of North Korea’s Politburo have called for practical measures to “more reliably and effectively increase our physical strength to uphold the dignity , the sovereign rights and interests of our State”. said the Korean Central News Agency.

They blamed the United States for continuing its military exercises with South Korea and arming its ally with advanced weapons and asserted – apparently wrongly – that Washington continues to send strategic resources to the region to make pressure on the North.

Since 2018, the United States has drastically reduced its combined exercises with South Korea, which have been mostly reduced to computer simulations, to make room for diplomacy with North Korea and covid-19 concerns. .

Duyeon Kim, an analyst at the Center for a New American Security in Washington, said North Korea’s allegation of U.S. hostility was a pretext for further testing.

“Pyongyang is squarely focused on meeting its nuclear weapons milestones because of its military imperative to do so. That means more tests are ahead,” she said. “The pandemic has given Pyongyang ample time to continue developing nuclear weapons because North Korea has closed its borders and refused direct talks for fear of importing the virus.”

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