According to state-run media, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un made his first public remarks on the United States during Biden’s administration on Friday, saying Pyongyang must be “prepared for both dialogue and confrontation” with Washington.
According to the Korean Central News Agency, Kim emphasised that North Korea should “especially … get fully prepared for confrontation in order to protect the dignity of our state and its interests for independent development and to reliably guarantee the peaceful environment and the security of our state,”
The comments were made during the third day of a plenary meeting of the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea.
Kim “made detailed analysis of the policy tendency of the newly emerged U.S. administration” and “clarified appropriate strategic and tactical counteraction,” KCNA reported.
He also urged “sharply and promptly reacting to and coping with the fast-changing situation and concentrating efforts on taking stable control of the situation on the Korean Peninsula.”
In April, the Biden administration finished its policy assessment regarding North Korea, stating that it will pursue a “calibrated and practical approach that is open to and will explore diplomacy” with Pyongyang.
Kim’s remarks are the first time he has directly referenced the Biden administration. Another KCNA spokesman last month criticised the outcomes of a May summit between Biden and South Korean President Moon Jae-in.
The statement called Washington’s decision to lift missile development restrictions on Seoul a “hostile act,” and called the Biden administration’s new policy approach “just trickery.”
“The target of the DPRK is not the [S]outh Korean army but the U.S.,” the statement warned. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is the official name of North Korea.
Kim’s remarks appear to be more measured, leaving the door open for dialogue. They come ahead of the first visit by Washington’s new special envoy for North Korea to Seoul.
Ambassador Sung Kim, named special envoy last month, will meet for trilateral talks with his South Korean and Japanese counterparts over a five-day trip starting Saturday, the State Dept. announced on Thursday.
Kim also addressed the necessity on the home front to “stabilise and improve the people’s living under the present situation.” during the plenary assembly.
The plenary adopted a resolution on “unconditionally fulfilling the grain production plan by concentrating efforts of the entire Party, the whole army and all the people on the farming for this year.”
At the start of the plenary meeting on Wednesday, Kim addressed the continued food scarcity, saying the situation is “now getting tense” owing to agricultural devastation caused by a succession of typhoons last year.