North Korea is pushing back at President Joe Biden’s comment labeling the country a serious threat, and issued new warnings to South Korea for not stopping activists from sending anti-Pyongyang leaflets across the border.
Biden’s comment on North Korea was “intolerable,” Kwon Jong Gun, director general of the Asian country’s Department of US Affairs of the Foreign Ministry, said in a statement first carried by state media.
“His statement clearly reflects his intent to keep enforcing the hostile policy towards the DPRK as it had been done by the US for over half a century,” Kwon said, referring to North Korea’s formal name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said the US has completed a review of its North Korea policy. The Washington Post reported that the Biden administration has decided to pursue a phased agreement that leads to full denuclearisation in North Korea, citing US officials familiar with the plan.
“This becomes an evident sign that it is girding itself up for an all-out showdown,” North Korea’s foreign ministry said in the statement. “We have warned the US sufficiently enough to understand that it will get hurt if it provokes us.”
The comment also came as Biden is scheduled to meet South Korean President Moon Jae-in on May 21, with Seoul saying that North Korea would be high on the agenda.
Moon is set to become the second foreign leader to visit the White House since Biden’s inauguration, after Japan’s prime minister, and the announcement comes as Biden’s administration is reviewing its policy on trying to end North Korea’s nuclear ambitions.
In a separate statement, North Korea warned that Seoul will pay a price for allowing a defector group in the South for sending 500,000 leaflets on the brutality of the Kim Jong-un regime.
“We regard the maneuvers committed by the human wastes in the South as a serious provocation against our state,” Kim Yo-jong, the sister of
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, said in a statement carried by KCNA, adding that Pyongyang will “look into corresponding action.”
The comment reiterated her warning from June that South Korea would pay a “dear price” if it continued to allow “mongrel dogs” to send the leaflets. Shortly after that, North Korea blew up a $15 million joint liaison office built by South Korea north of the border that served as a de facto embassy — destroying one of the most tangible symbols of Moon’s rapprochement efforts.
Seoul opposes any actions that “cause tension” on the Korean Peninsula and will “continue to endeavor to establish peace,” South Korea’s Unification Ministry said.
Moon’s progressive camp passed legislation in December that criminalises sending leaflets to North Korea, months after Kim’s regime demanded action to stop what it called
the “human scum” behind the messages.