Shortly after the White House said it is getting ready to put forward a new strategy to deal with North Korea, Pyongyang is pushing back, warning that the United States will face “a very grave situation” and a “crisis beyond control in the near future” if it continues to pursue a “hostile policy” against the country. Pyongyang issued three statements Sunday aimed against the United States and South Korea in what could mark a renewal of rising tensions between the three countries.
As far as North Korea is concerned, President Joe Biden made “a big blunder” in calling the country’s nuclear arsenal a threat last week. In his Wednesday address to a joint session of Congress, Biden vowed to respond with “diplomacy and stern deterrence” to the nuclear programs in Iran and North Korea, saying they amount to a “serious threat to America’s security and world security.” Pyongyang said Biden’s words were “intolerable” and marked more of the same from Washington. “His statement clearly reflects his intent to keep enforcing the hostile policy toward the DPRK as it had been done by the U.S. for over half a century,” Kwon Jong Gun, head of the Foreign Ministry’s department of U.S. affairs, said in a statement, using the acronym to refer to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. He went on to warn that North Korea would “press for corresponding measures, and with time the U.S. will find itself in a very grave situation” without going into details about what that might entail.
The statements from North Korea came shortly after the White House said it had completed a review of policy toward North Korea and will be pursuing a tactic that is different from the two previous administrations. Biden will be pursuing a strategy that is somewhere between Trump’s direct outreach to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and former President Barack Obama’s “strategic patience” that aimed to get Pyongyang to the negotiating table through sanctions. The White House press secretary, Jen Psaki, said on Friday the administration would seek “a calibrated, practical approach that is open to and will explore diplomacy” with North Korea.
In a separate statement, a spokesman for North Korea’s Foreign Ministry said the Biden administration is criticizing the country’s human rights record as “a political weapon for overturning our social system.” Ned Price, the State Department spokesman, last week called North Korea “one of the most repressive and totalitarian states in the world.” Meanwhile, Kim’s powerful sister, Kim Yo Jong, issued a statement criticizing South Korea over its failure to stop activists from using balloons to send anti-Pyongyang messages across the border. “We regard the maneuvers committed by the human waste in the South as a serious provocation against our state and will look into corresponding action,” Kim Yo Jong said in a statement. Biden and his South Korean counterpart, are scheduled to meet in Washington later this month.