North Korea warns US of 'very grave situation' over Biden speech

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un speaks during a conference of cell secretaries of the ruling Workers' Party in Pyongyang

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un speaks during a conference of cell secretaries of the ruling Workers' Party in Pyongyang

In one statement, a Foreign Ministry spokesman accused Washington of insulting the dignity of the country's supreme leadership by criticizing North Korea's human rights situation.

"I can confirm that we've completed our DPRK policy review, which was thorough, rigorous and inclusive", White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Friday, referring to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. "Our policy calls for a calibrated practical approach that is open to and will explore diplomacy with the DPRK and to make practical progress that increases the security of the United States, our allies, and deployed forces". Previously, Washington said that North Korea's nuclear program presents a serious threat to the USA, and it will be working with allies to address it with "stern deterrence". "His statement clearly reflects his intent to keep enforcing the hostile policy toward the DPRK as it had been done by the USA for over half a century", he said, using the initials for North Korea's official name.

In 2014, North Korea fired at propaganda balloons flying toward its territory and South Korea returned fire.

Now that Biden's policy has become clear, North Korea "will be compelled to press for corresponding measures, and with time the U.S. will find itself in a very grave situation", he concluded.

Commuters watch a TV with images of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and President Biden at a Seoul, South Korea, rail station in March. But Psaki's suggestion that the administration won't rely on "strategic patience" in its approach suggests that Biden may be shifting toward a more middle-ground approach between that of Obama and Trump's deeply personal effort to persuade Kim to denuclearize for sanctions relief.

Kwon's statement didn't mention Psaki's comments.

The denuclearization negotiations between North Korea and the United States, as well as the inter-Korean dialogue, stalled following the failed summit in Hanoi.

Vice President Joe Biden looks through binoculars to see North Korea from Observation Post Ouellette during a tour of the DMZ in 2013
Vice President Joe Biden looks through binoculars to see North Korea from Observation Post Ouellette during a tour of the DMZ in 2013 Credit Reuters

According to local news reports, Park's leaflet launch was sponsored by Suzanne Scholte, president of Defense Forum Foundation, a USA non-governmental organization.

During the trip, Blinken sternly criticised North Korea's nuclear program and human rights record and pressed China to use its "tremendous influence" to convince the North to denuclearise. The group's leader, Park Sang-hak, said Friday he sent 500,000 leaflets last week, in a defiance of a new South Korean law that criminalizes such action.

"When our assets track such projectiles, there could be blind spot areas", JCS spokesperson Col. Kim Jun-rak said, adding that South Korean and USA intelligence authorities carried out in-depth analysis and made the new estimate.

The end of the White House review comes as South Korean President Moon Jae-in is set to visit the White House on May 21.

Moon's efforts were frustrated by the failure of denuclearization talks under Trump, which left sanctions in place that block most economic engagement with the North.

Days later, the North fired two short-range ballistic missiles into the sea in a defiance of United Nations resolutions that ban such launches by North Korea.

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